I sat down on Saturday afternoon while Sophia was napping to watch the previous week's Super Soul Sunday with the one and only, Oprah.
It was writer and futurist Charles Eisenstein. Right off the bat, moments into their conversation, he said something that struck me and brought tears to my eyes.
"You can use hatred as a weapon but you cannot use it to defeat hate." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
It hit home for me in that moment, as I've been struggling with feelings of hatred toward some people who are close to me.
In the sorrow and hurt that has been part of my life in the past year, sometimes I want to fight the people who hurt me, with hatred.
Lately, more and more, anytime a disagreement arises, I'm practicing what I call "putting down the weapon."
It's easy to get defensive, or caught up in the moment, or to retaliate if someone says something hurtful. Continuing to put down the weapon takes something. As I've been doing it, I'm having less conflicts with a particular person.
No matter what they say to me, no matter how much I want to attack, I imagine putting down my weapon and I acquiesce.
It has led to some interesting conversations.
Now, when someone accuses me of something, I often find myself saying things like, "Yep. You nailed it. I totally do that. I slipped up. I'm sorry."
I've learned the lesson over and over again that taking responsibility for our actions, being willing to come back to someone, start a conversation, and apologize for where we know we went wrong, is powerful, healing and absolutely necessary for any real relationship to have trust and to flourish.
So back to Oprah- Charles is there talking with her and he's talking about what happened after Trump won the election and he's noting that the personal history and narrative that we follow is one of war.
We find the bad guy, fight against them, win control, and be the hero.
What he says happened after Trump, is that we were looking to do that again, but it's not working for us anymore.
He suggests a new possible way of being and says that we're heading toward a new story, one where rather than pointing fingers and tossing blame, we're actually asking a question:
"What's it like to be you?"
This is something Eckhart Tolle talks about in his work. He says that if our level of consciousness were their level of consciousness and if our past were their past, we'd do EXACTLY as they do.
Charles went on to explain that if we see a poor, southern, white person who is racist and we blame them and say we would never be like that, nor do as they do, Charles says we have a deficit of understanding- for truly, we are all one, and if we were a white, southern person, with the totality of their experiences, we'd feel the same as they do.
So, it becomes about understanding + not blaming another for how they are or the way they act, and not assuming that we're better.
It's also about giving up judgment. This is essentially what I'm practicing in putting down the weapon with people in my world. However they show up, I can have compassion and realize that I would show up like that too, if I were them.
And, instead of judging them, or shaming them, or blaming them, I can just seek to understand, and meet them with curiosity and an open heart. And above all, he suggests that a great reason to give up judgments is because they're NOT TRUE.
He also says all people are suffering from the SAME wound.
We're all feeling this same grief. It's not political. It's spiritual. It's our feeling of separation.
Every person we encounter, every experience we have, mirrors something inside of ourselves. Our inner being takes from all beings in every experience we encounter, information that helps us to see ourselves, and our wounds or reactions, and holds the seed for healing + growth. If we're open to it.
So, a strange thing has been happening as I'm allowing myself to feel less anger and more compassion and clarity about why people act the way they do, and that each person has a piece of something for me to learn about myself.
I'm able to have better boundaries.
In my reactions, resistance, frustration, or attempts to keep myself pissed to fuel my righteousness, I lost me. We also must realize that anytime we're reacting or in resistance, it's not good for us. When we give someone else something to tug or pull against, the fight continues.
When we disengage and put down our weapon, or surprise someone by simply owning up to what we just did, we change the game. There's nothing to resist. Then, we each can come back into the light of our own truth, and our stable center.
Inside of seeing someone's pain and knowing why they do something, and being more curious about what their world is like, I'm able to see what works for me and what doesn't, from a place of neutrality.
It's like this:
"Aw. that person is so hurt because of x. I get it. I would be too. That sucks. I'm sad for them. And, I don't have to put up with it, simply because they're transferring it or projecting it onto me."
I don't have to judge it. I don't have to resist it. I don't have to hate it or allow it to cause me to react.
I can see it for what it is. Have compassion and still hold healthy boundaries.
I think for sensitives and intuitive people a particular pattern happens.
- We get hurt or upset or mad at someone.
- We think we must remain angry to keep ourselves protected, for if we let down our rage, we fear they'll hurt us again.
- So, we try to stay angry.
- That doesn't work, we believe in forgiveness, so then we let down our guard and mistakenly think this means we must allow them close again.
Where we go wrong is in thinking that to hold a boundary, we must be mad, or angry- that we have to have that fuel to protect ourselves.
Really, though, in getting curious about their world, and what makes them behave the way they do, we can stop demonizing, take the mystery out of what's really happening, and see the other person for what they really are...a hurt person.
Inside of that, we have more access to our compassion, and thus our own center and truth.
Then, the next healthy step is truly setting the boundaries that we need to protect ourselves.
Too often spiritual people equate forgiveness with allowing someone close.
The opposite is true. Real forgiveness is about seeing that being as ourselves, seeing them in their pain and hurt as the same conscious energy that ignites and lights all things. It's about honoring that we are all capable of everything and anything, and in some past life, we probably did that thing.
So, we get to give up righteousness and pretense. We don't have to demonize. And, we don't have to participate any longer. Simply pick up your marbles, and play a new game.
Getting angry + being full of hate, keeps us trapped in the same game. The same karma. It's a lose, lose.
So, if you're locked in a battle with someone, if you're hurting, if you're blaming, if your upset + infuriated...find the love in you, that sees the love in them. Put down your weapon. Realize we're all hurting because we feel separated from love.
And in the space of neutral peace, walk away. Go toward the river. The mountain. Or, a new love.
Forgiveness and compassion for another's pain doesn't require that you stay. Only that you love. Head towards those who nurture you.
Begin to heal the real wound within- your desire to reunite with the real lover, the one inside the pulsing rhythms of your own heart.
All my love,