An enlightened view of life is challenging because it requires a curious shift rather than the acquisition of new knowledge from outside of us. It’s why I’m a guide and not teacher. People need to experiment with their own experiences, not their intellectual understanding. I just prompt the experiences in a way tailored to them.
In an attempt to help point to this shift in perspective, imagine that you already sincerely have a way to love everyone without condition. You may not want to spend time with many, and you may disapprove of some of their actions, but below all of that there is a basis of love –of believing in that healthy part of the other person even when it’s not clearly evident. It is a belief in the human spirit.
Assuming that were true, can we then see that we don’t need to build bridges of love to others, we only need to remove the barriers in our thinking that are preventing us from accessing the love that is the basis of everyone’s shared existence.
Rather than finding out how to forgive or put up with someone, we need to ask ourselves what judgmental thoughts do we have that lead us to create feelings that we then attach to that other person –just as others do likewise to us?
Let’s take the example of someone that we don’t like, but someone that is liked by the people we do like. Imagine this person earnestly. We should imagine the qualities they have that cause the people we like, to like this other person. Then we can ask ourselves, what sort of sources a person’s history might provide explanations for the way they act?
We should ask ourselves if we truly believe the other person is being the way they are to irritate us, versus the idea that we struggle to stay mentally calm around certain types of entirely legitimate people who express nothing more than a normal human foible or even a quality we dislike.
Maybe we’re a woman who can’t stand another lady at work because she’s always sticking her nose into things and we don’t like it. She’s so nosy we can’t imagine how she has any of the friends she mentions. But those friends don’t have that barrier-thinking between her and their love like we do.
They were the for –or learned about– her history. Maybe she was a fatherless 16 year old caring for her mother while she died of cancer and what tortured her most was that no one even offered any help. Her friends know that she thinks the greatest tragedy in the world is people suffering all alone. So they understand that she comes across as a busy-body, but they just see a loving person caring for others.
Meanwhile, imagine that we were raised to see privacy as very important and so those taught thoughts clash with her taught thoughts, so while others can make friends with her, we do not. But the barrier was and is only thoughts based on histories we had little control over.
Or in another example, maybe a guy comes across as overly macho and we’re another guy who finds that irritating. But what if he’s only that way because his Dad left when he was a kid? And he felt –and people told him– he had to man-up, and it’s a performance he started at 13 and now it’s his personality because that’s all a personality is –a repetition of certain words or behaviours.
If we’re detached from our natural love for a person we’ll focus on our selfish thoughts about how we want the person to be, so his friends will love him because they do not share our thought barrier. They were there and watched him defend his wounded mother from countless abusive suitors and he did it by acting more like a man than he deserved to for his age. They’re proud of him.
His friends get that he came by the personality honestly, due to being a good person under difficult circumstances. And he loves them for that. The entire series The Big Bang Theory is based on the idea of friends putting up with each other’s social mistakes because they recognize no one is doing anything on purpose to anyone else. They can feel the love underneath it all because they ultimately accept each other unconditionally.
We don’t need to reach out to love people. We need to relax our judgments about them, just as we wish them to be relaxed against us. Because in the end, the world works best if we all just relax into being ourselves, letting others be themselves. Only then can we all flow.
We’re all fine. Let’s enjoy our day. 😉
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.