Whatever we react to strongly in life is what we have yet to discover within ourselves. If we hate judgmental people, we have yet to love this side of ourselves. If we hate stubborn people, we have yet to embrace our stubbornness.
Life is a mirror, and if we avoid looking at ourselves deeply and embracing our stubborn, judgmental selves, then we will always react to the outside mirrors with hatred and repulsion. Think of the number of times someone has accused you of something and you have recoiled in disbelief – but that’s how THEY are being! Not YOU!!
Sometimes when I’m teaching, a student will say something that 50% of the class gets very upset about – they react – and 50% have no negative emotion but respond with understanding and compassion. Why the difference? If someone says something offensive or judgmental – shouldn’t everyone react the same way? Well, if you are judgmental yourself – you will immediately see that trait in someone else. But if you are not judgmental, it won’t bother you – you’ll wonder about where the comment came from, you’ll come from a place of curiosity, maybe understanding, but you won’t get an emotional ‘I don’t believe they said that!’ reaction.
When you accept your inner flaws a strange thing happens, their power over you diminishes. When you can see that the very thing that drives you crazy about others, also resides in you; you connect to that person and most importantly to your inner love and compassion. If we truly believe we are all connected, we are all one, then it logically follows we are all – light and dark, negative and positive, ego and selfless.A wonderful exercise to try is to list all traits you hate. I hate people who are: ……write your list!
Now gently, lovingly, through your Reiki self-healing, go through each and every one of these obnoxious traits, and find at least three examples in your lifetime when you have been just like that. Find the three examples where you have been rude, cruel, impatient, a bully, clingy, overbearing…whatever you wrote on the list is for you to explore – it is the negative, shadow side of yourself you have forced into the basement. Give it light, set it free, and in so doing you increase your compassion for both yourself, and for others.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks