Do you also believe that we teach others how to treat us? It is a motto I have religiously adhered to for most of my adult life. However, I must add that I have made some radical changes to my ‘teaching strategy’ over the years, and this change in my approach has brought me much inner peace and harmony with others. I have learned that we can ‘teach others’ with much less fuss and drama.
In my early adulthood I used to take a firm stand on just about everything and everyone who I felt were out of line. I am someone who often feels compelled to stand up for others, as well as for myself and my beliefs.
I also have this annoying habit of constantly wanting to side with the ‘underdog’ in any given situation. Like most empaths, I just cannot come to grips with any form of injustice or underhanded behavior. Circumstances that are unfair, dishonest or cruel really trouble me, and people who are unreasonable, inconsiderate or simply mean have always been one of my ‘pet peeves’.
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
Apart from being an empath, the desire for justice and fairness also stems from my youth. The trouble started long before I was born. Not only did I enter this lifetime blessed with the psychic abilities of my ancestors, I was also one of the many ‘first wave’ Indigo children who arrived on our planet in the 60’s and 70’s. I was a gifted and very unusual child, growing up in an extremely conservative and conformist society. I carried a target on my forehead from my very first day in kindergarten.
I was bullied and ridiculed for most of my childhood and teenage years. South Africa under apartheid was not the most friendly place for anyone who dared to be different in any way. Bigotry, prejudice and intolerance was to be found around every corner and in all walks of life. If you were discovered to be out of the ordinary, or if you did not conform to the norm, you were not very welcome in the politically controlled and socially engineered world which I grew up in.
Thankfully all of this changed when I was coming of age. By the time they released Nelson Mandela from prison, I had also been personally liberated by means of a tertiary education and the inner strength that comes from surviving several traumatic life events, as well as a growing personal acceptance of my psychic legacy. I was now a young adult and along the way I had also discovered that I am more than able to take a stand and defend myself, and others, whenever I felt it necessary.
There’s much more in any given moment than we usually perceive, and we ourselves are much more than we usually perceive. When you know that, part of you can stand outside the drama of your life ~ Ram Dass
I certainly wasted no time exercising my new found personal freedom. I was very much inspired by the newly achieved democracy in my country and those who had fought for it. In my own way, I also had a voice now and I wanted to use it. It was important to me to put the ‘bad guys’ in their place. Mean, nasty behavior had to have consequences. Keeping my mouth shut or backing down was no longer an option. I was never going to return willingly to that psychological prison created by others’ small-mindedness. I was, after all, busy teaching the world how to treat me and I had a lot of catching up to do. I certainly was not going to take any prisoners.
Fortunately, we never stop learning and over the years I have come to realize that this ‘fight for your right’ approach offers very little spiritual fulfillment or lasting inner peace. I have in time discovered that it is mostly the weak who react in anger or frustration. It is the weak who constantly seeks justice or revenge. It is the weak who feels compelled to be tough and defiant.
Standing your ground is trivial and has very little to do with your inner strength. The truly enlightened and wise find their power in unconditional love. Who is right and who is wrong is spiritually insignificant. Truly powerful people seldom have any need for excessive self-defense or forcing their views upon others. It simply does not matter. Do you want to be right… or do you want to make a difference in the world?
To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad ~ Eckhart Tolle
Instead of focusing on what others say or do or believe, turn your attention to your inner being. Focus on your own vibration. Work on feeling better about yourself and your life. Other people are not responsible for how you feel. If the words and actions of someone or something are currently determining your state of mind, or your self-esteem, it means that you have been giving away your power, and it is time for you to take it back.
You were born with the basic spiritual right to feel good and be happy. In fact, you have inherited a divine right to feel really great about yourself and your life. It is vital that we feel this way, because it empowers us to love others unconditionally. Once you feel happy and centered in your own being, it is so much easier to be kind and tolerant towards others.
Claiming your place in the sun and staying true to yourself does not have to involve any form of violent conviction, dogged persistence, foolish bravery or brute force. There is nothing that you have to prove to anyone. There is nobody that must be resisted or refuted or convinced by you at all cost. Not everything needs to be changed by you; everyone and everybody does not require your supervision or control. Your opinion is not always required. When you are in alignment with your higher self and your true life purpose, others can behave as they wish; you won’t even notice.
You are killing one another as you argue over whose way of life is the right way, when there is not one right way of life. There is just life…and you all get to choose the way. No one can threaten your way of life ~ Abraham-Hicks
When you are in that ‘zone ‘ it simply does not matter what other people say or do or think. What matters is how you respond to them. There are never any winners if there also has to be losers, no matter what the circumstance. Jesus referred to it as “turning the other cheek” and “doing unto others”; the Buddha talked of cultivating “a limitless heart” and the Prophet Muhammad encouraged the “conquest of self” and loving our “fellow-beings first”. It does not matter how one describes it. What matters is how ‘the zone’ makes you feel, and what it enables you to do in order to make the world a better place.
With this approach it becomes so much easier to ‘teach others’. You no longer have to deal with all the stress, drama and negative, destructive emotions. There is no longer any desire to be constantly affirmed or acknowledged by others. Gone are the regrets and the grudges. Conflict and arguments all but disappear from your life. It really does take two to tango and nobody enjoys dancing solo, especially if there is no music to dance to.
The results are amazing. When you respond to the mean, petty moments of others from within your ‘zone’, you will find that the guilty parties tend to apologize more often and more readily. When you’re true to yourself and aligned with the rest of the Universe, people actually become willing to listen and calmly consider your point of view. Even the really tough and deluded folks become a non-issue, because they will eventually give up and move on.
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich ~ Tao Te Ching
All of this may seem like a lot of hard work, but it does not have to be. Getting into the ‘zone’ is much easier than you may think. Deepak Chopra describes it as following the ‘Law of Least Effort’. There are three components to this law, namely acceptance, responsibility and defenselessness, which he outlines in his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.
Chopra explains that “acceptance simply means that you make a commitment: ‘Today I will accept people, situations, circumstances and events as they occur.’ This means you will know that this moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be”.
Responsibility means “not blaming anyone or anything for your situation, including yourself. This allows you the ability to have a creative response to the situation as it is now. All problems contain the seeds of opportunity, and this awareness allows you to take the moment and transform it to a better situation or thing.”
Finally, he describes the most important component of getting into the ‘zone’, namely becoming defenseless. He defines this process as “relinquishing the need to convince or persuade others of your point of view. If you relinquish this need you will in that relinquishment gain access to enormous amounts of energy that have been previously wasted”.
If you knew your potential to feel good, you would ask no one to be different so that you can feel good. You would free yourself of all of that cumbersome impossibility of needing to control the world, or control your mate, or control your child. You are the only one who creates your reality – Abraham-Hicks
I also recommend three simple rules of thumb that I try to follow to help me stay in my ‘zone’. The first is to always pick your battles carefully and to let the Law of Karma take care of the rest. The second is to not buy into other people’s drama. The third is to recognize that you were never supposed to be anybody’s doormat, so don’t allow yourself to go down that slippery slope in the first place.
Does this mean that we should always remain silent when we are made victims, or look the other way when we see atrocities committed? Not at all. Nelson Mandela did not remain silent. Neither did Mahatma Ghandi. But they also came to the realization during the course of their lives that using force to convince others was not the best way to change the world. “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”, said Ghandi. “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner”, said Mandela.
It is not about remaining silent or avoiding reality. It is about remaining faithful to your feelings, beliefs and values, without having to force it upon others. Your life and the rest of the world can be changed without violence or drama or force. We don’t have to shout our personal slogans from rooftops. Mandela and Ghandi are two excellent examples of how to achieve personal peace, spiritual wisdom and harmony with others… and yet, they both managed to completely change the history of the world!
When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall – think of it, always ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Now, I must admit, this alternative approach to ‘teaching others how to treat us’ remains a work in progress for me. I don’t always get it right in my moments of weakness. Some bullies just have the uncanny ability to drag you away from your ‘path of least resistance’ and, before you know it, you are completely out of your ‘zone’. On those occasions one tends to forget all your best intentions and give in to anger, hurt or frustration.
But it gets easier with practice and one does become stronger. And while I learn to let go more and more each day, I find comfort in the words of Jack Kornfield who once said that “a genuine spiritual path is not to avoid difficulties but to learn the art of making mistakes wakefully, to bring them to the transformative power of our heart”.
© 2011 Anthon St Maarten
Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net