We are promised from wisdom teachings down through the ages, including A Course In Miracles in our generation, that there are no accidents, those who are to meet will meet, even if on your computer or TV screen, and everything is an opportunity for healing. So why we are to meet the ones that show up in our lives, either personally or via media? We usually do not question the encounters wherein we feel supported and comforted, or when there is a deep sense of communal understanding and love. We celebrate and are grateful for those. But we so often resist and judge the people who drive us crazy, frighten, insult or ignore us, and the list goes on.
We will take our current cast of political characters and liken them to the famous Rorschach Ink Blot test patterns. For those not familiar, the very basic idea is that you show a person a literal ink blot that has no inherent meaning or representation and that person will “see in it” whatever they see, depending on their beliefs, state of mind, attitude, and more. It is very obvious that across the political spectrum we “see” wildly different characteristics in any given public figure. If we like what we see, that’s fine. When we don’t, some important learning and healing can begin. The healing is just as powerful when the “assistance” comes from someone you know or from a person in the public realm you will never meet.
Step one is to realize that, although we may say, “That person makes me so upset the way they ____________” (You get to fill in the blank about the behaviors/words you see) they actually don’t “make you upset” at all. To which almost everyone naturally responds, “What! Are you crazy! Of course they do! See how upset I am!” Indeed, the upset is apparent but the source is not. Upset is an inside job, created by the chemicals that flood the body when there is a sense of threat. The nature of the threat is irrelevant - an animal chasing you or the belief you are a “guilty, unimportant person that can’t do anything right,” for instance. The brain responds by turning on the stress response in either case - fear about the physical body or the ego. It simply recognizes that you either feel safe, or not, and when you don’t, it attempts to come to your rescue by altering the body chemistry to allow you to fight, flee, or freeze. And that brings us to a key point and a mostly unknown fact - When those stress-related chemicals flood the body, they create our emotional state - fear, anger, grief, anxiety, sadness, general upset, etc.
Why, then, does it seem like the “other person” is causing distress? Especially since we now can see that the cause of upset has to come from within you already since no one else can be in your brain and alter the body chemistry.
The “other’s” behavior is actually reminding you of what you fear are your own unloving, unhelpful behaviors at some point in life and the (often unconscious) guilt you feel about it. That wound of guilt you carry, when activated by the other person, is the distress you experience. These difficult people are “pushing your button,” a button that was installed long before the “annoying” political figure ever entered your awareness.
Because the guilt and self-blame you carry, even though it may be unconscious, always has a punishing effect on you, causing you to experience lack, pain, illness, fear, and the list goes on. Once this guilt, always at the core of any upset, is discovered, you can finally choose to change your mind, start being kinder and more helpful to yourself and others. You can cooperate in the healing of your mind, and thus all else, by remembering this: Trade in the small, limiting, fear-inducing, inaccurate beliefs about yourself (the foundation for your guilt and pain) for the much grander, loving, and life-affirming truth you so richly and actually deserve.
I hope you now can begin to entertain the fact that we are always causing our own pain by the unworthy things we believe and assume are true about ourselves, installed at a very early age, but totally false! These unhelpful beliefs register as a threat to the brain, which then automatically produces the upset. We can think of these upsetting people, whether on our TVs, computers, or in person as spotless mirrors reflecting back our own pain-inducing beliefs about ourselves.
In fact, how can any painful encounter be helpful and inevitable? Here is how: Sometime, somewhere you have thought, “I would like to have a better life. I want to rise to my potential. I want to feel safe and loved. I want to reach out and engage more with people. etc.” This much better, safer, happier, more peaceful and productive life you actually deserve is always already available, but inaccessible as long as these self-punishing notions of being guilty are alive and well. Once you actually focus on these thoughts for a better life, life will bring into your awareness the very people, either in person or via media, that will trigger your pain and upset, bringing it to your attention, so you can finally free yourself from what limits and frightens you. It is inevitable that sooner or later, your distress will compel you to ask for help, either in thought or word.
To sum up, when we ask for a better life, we are not handed a better life on a platter immediately, but directed to the blocks to the awareness to all that’s here for us, to exactly how we are interfering with that better life as mirrored in other people. They show us with great accuracy what we hold against ourselves, and thereby, block our good in so many forms. So, if you follow this logic, you can see that we all have many “mirrors” to choose from within the current political spectrum, no matter where you stand on issues.
The despised behavior/words of “others” gives us clear, specific, crucial input for our own change of heart and mind. I’ve worked with many people individually with this process (as well as myself), and everyone, when properly directed, can see that what one dislikes in others is, indeed, what is being denied and disowned in ourselves .
It’s as if we are all in a learning crucible and we either can take advantage of this huge healing opportunity, or guaranteed, we’ll meet it later down the road! As soon as we decide the “SOBs” are actually here to save us from our own self-condemnation, we can make great progress. Remember our happiness and peace is always right here, right now, but unavailable until we let go of fear and guilt. One day, you’ll thank all those “SOBs” that helped to save you from your own self-defeating thoughts.
This vital and simple process that has the power to transform all of our lives is just one of the many step-by-step lessons you will learn in this powerful See How Life Works course.
With love and happy travels through the next couple of weeks with all those unlikely healing partners!
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