“A person isn’t who they are during the last conversation you had with them--they’re who they’ve been throughout your whole relationship.”
Rilke offers entry point into compassionately working with conflict where the desire to be right takes precedence over diplomacy. Hearing the line: “Are you willing to let that [the grievance] go?” can sound undesirable, as it challenges my entrenched position regarding a certain view towards a particular situation. But by enlarging the frame of reference to the entire history together, and the meaning and growth derived as a result, the question gets shifted from the event to the relationship: “Am I willing to let all that go because of this?”...well, you might say, "You have a point."
“All of us are much more human than otherwise.” ~ Harry Stack Sullivan
To me, this is a great reminder to hold on to the desire to see the interrelatedness, or common connection, between all peoples during interactions, as opposed to singling out all that annoys and conflicts with my personal definition of ‘normal’. I refrain from using the word different, because it is the recognition and appreciation of our peculiar differences that make us uniquely human. Differences, therefore, are not obstacles, but rather our connecting bridges to peace.
“Love is misunderstood to be an emotion; actually, it is a state of awareness, a way of being in the world, a way of seeing oneself and others.” David R. Hawkins
Hawkins makes a valuable distinction between Love and feelings. Feelings are chosen by the 's' self, Love is the state I experience when I am in communion with the 'S' Self. I may 'feel love' when someone keeps a promise or behaves in a way my ego approves of; I may 'feel love' when someone agrees with me or supports my point of view. That is what so often passes for love: a bargain kept. True Love has no idea about the other, it Knows the other as the Self.
“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~ Dalai Lama
Pain sucks; it hurts, feels constricting, and can add significant hurdles when attempting to achieve peace. However, pain can be a great motivator for change, as one dives into the source of the pain through self-inquiry and reflection. Now, I am not suggesting to become sadistic, and sending out invitations to pain for the sake of ‘higher learning’. More so to welcome that which approaches your door-step, because they are knocking from the inside, hoping you will finally hear and answer their call-for-love with compassion.
“Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” ~ Brene Brown
I can certainly accuse myself at times of being selfish, or caught up in a belief system of scarcity. In fact, I believe that it will always be there, but how I respond to it makes all the difference. Instead of shaming myself when I act out, I can hold a compassionate stance, recognizing that I am not perfect--I am human. Letting my insecurities be shown is not a weakness but a strength, I and I would much rather be real than stuffed with repressed emotions.
“Where self-interest is the bond, the friendship is dissolved when calamity comes. where Tao is the bond, friendship is made perfect by calamity.” ~ The Way of Chuang Tzu
Self-interest, the desires of the ego, are laid in the field of any relationship like mines. It is only a matter of time till one goes off. Calamities are nothing other than opportunities for me to strengthen my resolve to Know; to Know that all is FOR me; to Know that the other cannot bring me anything I need or hurt me in any way. Knowing that nourishes all in the relationship.
"Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes." ~ Bible
What a perfect confluence of what I Know as love and how I perceive the idea of God. There simply is no difference. Now I begin to dimly grasp how immensely (and amusingly) foolish I was all those years when I arrogantly proclaimed to be an ‘atheist’. What I was really trumpeting was my juvenile, hubris laden ignorance, a fish at three hundred feet below the surface of the ocean proudly stating it does not believe in water. Awww honey ....
“Letting go of a craving is not rejecting it but allowing it to be itself” ~ Batchelor (Buddhism Without Beliefs)
This is why declaring a battle against something--ie. The War on Drugs/Terrorism/Islamophobia--will never achieve harmony because the goal is dissociation: “I am NOT that”. The desire to judge, to separate oneself out from the rest, is part of the human condition. When I recognize and embrace this part of myself, I open myself a little more to the world. To dominate, in my opinion, is to ‘look over with love’, and that can only come from a self-evaluation, and extend outward.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~ Marcel Proust
I can already hear some of you saying, “Nobody can make me happy! Happiness comes from within.” But if, as Poonja and other non-dualist teachers would attest to, all is Self, then the relationships and sense of connection I feel with others is symbolic of a process of opening up to life--which is none other than an extension of You...so There ;)
“The more you know yourself, the more patience you have for what you see in others.” ~ Erik Erikson
Compassion starts with self and extends outward, yet it can only be cultivated by honest inquiry--of recognizing the parts within that fear connection. Given that we all have this to some degree or other, how can I reject a part of myself and hope to feel peace? To hold onto judgment of another is not necessarily wrong, but merely caught up in a state of incomplete awareness.
Diederik Wolsak is program director at Choose Again