After the ten-thousandth time of bemoaning a well-trodden problem, my husband simply said, “When are you going to be ready to let that go?”
In a remarkable moment for my stubborn mind, I heard something completely new and totally unexpected, “Dana, your story is a story that is comfortable and keeps you stuck—right where you like it. Your trench is dark and deep, and now you’ve happily nested in there.”
Only it wasn’t a nest, it was the Taj Mahal of dark stories and anger that I was certain was responsible for my unhappiness.
I’ve moved more times than most people would consider sane. Yes, moving has challenging moments, but it has also taught me wonderful lessons about spiritual evolution.
When we move away from a location, we are free to create a new life and be who we want to be in that new world because, in many ways, the life we left no longer exists. This is exactly what spiritual letting go feels like.
Underneath our anger (and other emotions) is a beautiful world that we simply choose not to see for a variety of reasons. As easily as we can build our lives around these stories, when we leave them, a huge freedom and abundance is revealed underneath. We then see truth, that the stories are largely myths, and certainly not what really ails us.
The rule in the spiritual world is that if we can be angry about something, it’s not the thing keeping us stuck. It’s not the real hurt, yet the story and feeling is a breadcrumb pointing to a loaf nearby. We keep our mental dialogue so full and unrelenting that we can never catch a glimpse of the place underneath where we all want to go, need to go.
Underneath our anger also lie some things that are hard to see and some hurts of the past that fester unacknowledged, now eroding our world. Anger, and the stories around it, are the mind/body block protecting us from witnessing these hurts and allowing the healing that would happen if we could acknowledge them and let them go.
Perhaps the worst part about living in an angry posture is the very limited way we can connect to people and the way our anger affects the people we care about. The limited connection we can make as angry people is through the universal feeling of the angry—injustice.
Injustice is the mothership of anger. We spend our lives aligning with family, co-workers, and friends through the injustices and sorrows in their world.
This accounts for the “hero thing” we all have going on. Our anger has us running around trying to save everyone, but the only one we actually have any power to save—ourselves.
We have superheroes saving the down-trodden, princes saving the damsels in distress, and good Samaritans saving the misfits who are bullied after school. And it all begins with a posture called sympathy.
Sympathy is the connection we have to people we’ve decided are not like us, not because they aren’t, but because we can’t yet see that they are.
The sympathetic posture in our relationships is a sign of spiritual awakening because we actually notice others in our world who are suffering, yet there is no real feeling for the others because we protect ourselves from true connections through our own fury toward the world.
In essence, sympathy is another sneaky trick to keep us angry, but we look as if we care. It feeds our anger by allowing us to witness injustice in someone else’s world and it usually diminishes their problem.
Sympathy says I see there is a problem with you, but I cannot align myself with your pain because I don’t understand my world either. The problem with sympathy is that because of our own spiritual blockages, it often comes across as insincere, condescending, or judgmental.
A sympathetic posture erodes relationships because sympathy is usually alienating. Sympathy is not about the words, it’s about the tone of the words. We can feel when someone is really there and when they are not.
The good news is that sympathy can turn into empathy (be sure to tune into next week’s post), which is an infinitely more helpful posture with a little desire and a few skills. The best way for a true connection with others is through the practice of pure questioning and then mirroring the response of a friend in pain.
Sympathy says we don’t understand, so questioning is the best way to get there. When we begin questioning earnestly, our posture will naturally shift to empathy, which says oh, we get it.
As we notice the pain in others, we will eventually notice the big magic. Ah, we’ve been through a very similar situation. As we further awaken, we completely understand. For the first time, we witness the conditions in our life played out though the lives of others. We will be teaching ourselves how to heal, by helping others heal. It is the universal win-win.
This is the big AHA. We are given the perfect lessons to heal ourselves in our relationships. When we begin to see how perfectly the pieces are placed, we can relax and have faith again.
Through the relationships before us, we discover the universe was always elegantly just, even when we could not see it, even in the most horrific moments. The perfection will boggle the mind.
Next week, we will take quantum leaps in our evolutionary behavior. We will talk about empathy, compassion, and unity. SUBSCRIBE! IT’S FREE…
On Monday we have an extra day this year, so go for it!!