Over a month ago, I was in a situation wherein I was blamed for something that I didn’t do and was insulted for being who I am. On and off within the past year, I’ve experienced extreme anger and resentment from this loved one. Rather than making judgments and declaring that this person doesn’t know how to manage their own emotions, I realize that it is not their fault as there are only a few people out there who do. Unfortunately the skills of finding inner peace, building joyful relationships and releasing negative emotions are not commonly taught in schools. I cannot change this situation from the past. However, there are opportunities for all of us to treat our fellow human beings with love and respect.
In my previous post, Mind as an Enemy, I touched upon how our mind can be our biggest detractor. As a first step in tackling this challenge, one must bring awareness to the fact that indeed the mind is acting as our worst enemy. In a situation like this one, quieting down the mind becomes a critical necessity. If we could witness the mind game, and not get attached to it, our observations could be very revealing. Interestingly, as you may have noticed too, our mind loves either replaying and analyzing the past or projecting a fear based outcome into the future through worry. It is rarely present in the NOW. Every time we are not present in a moment, we are taken away from realizing our own inner consciousness. Once we stop the nonsense mind chatter, it becomes easier to differentiate our truth from the negative emotions.
Interestingly, every time I tried reaching out to my loved one, they chose to talk about the past and assumed the worst in the future based on their projection of fears. I kept defending my past actions and assuring them that our future looks joyful and promising. However, there was nothing anyone could say to change their mind and bring them back into the present. The present was full of deep love for them, but their mind didn’t want to accept that. This is a perfect example of how once the mind takes over our thoughts, it acts as a dangerous enemy and things quickly get to a point of no return.
Being on the receiving side of negative emotions, my mind found comfort in feeling like a victim. It wanted to hold on to judgments so bad, but with time and practice, I learnt to simply witness my emotions. This helped in bringing neutrality in the situation rather than making things worse. Needless to mention, the less negativity I held on to, the more at peace I was.
Once awareness arises in the conflict, the second step involves building a deeper understanding of our truth. In tactical terms, allowing ourselves to feel and observe the emotions of resentment and hatred rather than trying to resist them. Resistance means unacceptance of our feelings and it makes matter much worse. However, every time a non-positive thought comes to mind, there are a few steps we can follow:
At the very core of every conflict, we all want to be loved and accepted for who we are, but, we don’t know how to best communicate with others to love us more. In my loved one’s example, they experienced pain and suffering because of their unmet expectations, which were ego driven. Underneath their anger, there was a simple heart based plea to request more love and attention. Unfortunately, we look for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. Instead of channeling the unlimited reservoir of deep divine love within ourselves, we fall into the temptation of finding it outside of us. The external supply of love is temporary and it doesn’t fulfill us endlessly. Whereas, internally generated love is truly unlimited.
Lastly, we can notice over time that there are certain recurring themes in our life that keep coming back as conflicts. Every single time, the players change, but the game remains the same. Until and unless these themes are reconciled within our minds, the universe makes sure to nudge us regularly through a variety of situations so that we can release these energies. If you don’t like the situation you’re in, the spiritual teachings of Abraham Hicks recommends asking the question – why this and why now? These two questions allow us to discover the basic growth opportunity behind a situation. Understanding that our life situations come up for our optimal growth and our responses to them depends on our internal intuitive wisdom.
In my example, the underlying lesson behind this situation had come up a few times in the past in different forms. This specific message came into my life to allow me to release any judgments and practice unconditional love for even those who resent me. I had a tendency to look for love and validation externally too, wherein, I should’ve been strengthening my internal relationship with myself and the divine. Conflicts merely a show up in our lives as a reflection from others to show us where we judge ourselves. If we try making an attempt in seeing the underlying lesson underneath each conflict and release negative emotions, we can experience spiritual expansion pretty quickly. This situation was perfect in teaching me to let go of those external expectations.
Unconditional love for all - as Yogi Bhajan says, if you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all. In this specific situation, my role ceased to be merely a witness to mine and other people’s emotions. It was hard, but with much practice, I tried staying away from judgments and adopted a neutral point of view. I tried to understand my loved ones’ perspective and recognized their internal suffering. Our expression of emotions denotes our internal state of mind. While nothing I could do to make them happy or sad, I truly empathize with them as I recognize how much they must be suffering internally to be at the point of harming others. Very quickly, I developed genuine empathy and transformed it into unconditional and limitless love for them. After all, we are all divine beings and treating each other with full love, respect and dignity is our eternal dharma. And mind you, practicing unconditional love will require tremendous amount of courage as many times it may not be well understood or reciprocated by others. As long as we don’t practice our dharma to please others and expect anything in return, it should not matter. Do remember that there is nothing anyone can ever do to derail us from this path of dharma and disturb our internal peace. It’s when we give power to others’ words and actions that our peace gets shaken.
Understanding how our mind works is a very vast topic. In this post we looked into how treating our mind as a stranger, we could build awareness around our thoughts. We will take a look at the other aspects of our mind and how they can affect our lives. Therefore, rather than making one huge post, this topic is broken up into a three part series: part 1 [mind as an enemy] and part 3 [mind as a friend].
Food for thought: what has worked best for you in resolving conflicts with loved ones?
Image source: http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/positive-thinking-in-3d/