We all have judgments, prejudices, opinions and beliefs. Have you ever changed your beliefs or opinions during your life? Can you recall what happened to cause you to change an opinion?
Most of us want the same thing. We want a world where everyone is fulfilled, healthy, successful, and at peace. Sometimes we think to get there we need to go through struggle, arguing and coercing, even fighting. We think our own way is best and we need to make others conform to our way.
So, we post on Facebook, Twitter, and other forums. We write, speak, text and PM. We blast those who speak of other opinions and judgements. We call them haters and we hate them. (huh?) We don’t ask them questions like, why do you feel/choose that way?
Imagine you are faced with people who have a different political view than you and they are trying to make you change your mind and agree with them. How would these actions make you feel?
These behaviors do not-
On the contrary, they only divide further, cause more anger, and deepen the wounds.
Everyone is operating at their own level of consciousness. Each person is doing the best they can with what they have known, felt, and experienced in their lives. There is huge diversity in the world today, and the bell curve of levels of consciousness in the United States and other industrialized countries is and has been shifting toward more awareness. This is evolution; sometimes a painful process when some groups are ignored, abused, pushed away, or have assistance and caring withheld from them. When their needs aren’t met, they can get stuck in lower levels of awareness, especially when they are born into a sub-culture where this is the norm. Their rising consciousness gets blocked. By ridiculing them, pushing against them, we cause their complaints to strengthen, along with their anger. What you push against grows.
We must infiltrate these groups. We must meet them where they are and ask them what their experience is. It reminds me of the African-American man who went to a KKK meeting because he said, “How can they hate me when they don’t even know me?” It changed the men in that group. They became friends with him and eventually gave up the KKK. This is an extreme group and most of us would never approve of their message, but they are human beings.
The first two levels of biological responses to stress are Fight or Flight (physiological) and Reactive Response, the psychological equivalent. These are old, hard-wired responses to threats in the environment and grounded in our survival instincts. The Reactive Response can be triggered by criticism, anger, sarcasm, etc. but it can cause the same fear and lashing out, adrenalin release, and rapid breathing as fight or flight, or just withdrawal and depression. These two reactive responses are how the majority of people react to stressful situations.
But there are five more responses: Restful Awareness, Intuitive Response, Creative Response, Visionary Response, and Sacred Response. These are all higher forms of responding, more conscious and aware, and we all have had moments where we’ve experienced them. They increasingly move one past the ego and the fear-based, unaware state.
So, it makes sense that to be of service in this world, this ability of moving out of the first two responses and into the higher responses, is one to acquire. This way we won’t get triggered with fear and anger when we hear opposing views, distraught people, angry people, and fearful people. We can center ourselves and listen to them. When someone feels heard, healing can begin.
How do we do this? Evolve our own reactive responses? There are many ways so find one that resonates with you, if it doesn’t help try another one.
I usually tell this story to my new meditators:
Back when I first learned the meditation method I now teach, it had been a few months, and I hadn’t really noticed any difference in my life. One day I went to the grocery store and was in the check-out line. I could hear the cashier snapping at the people ahead of me. She sounded angry. When she was checking my items, she attacked me for doing something wrong. I don’t even recall what it was. I paid and was halfway to the car when I noticed something unusual for me. See, normally if someone lashed out at me, I would feel the adrenalin flow, blood rushing to the face, and my heart would start beating fast. None of that happened. I just thought she was having a bad day. This was really significant. I was by-passing the lower responses!
Here’s the list of suggestions:
What you will notice is more episodes of feelings of love from within. More patience. More understanding where others are coming from. Less judgement, less criticism, more solutions, more productive communication.
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