A friend and regular reader writes,
When you say we need to relax our judgment of the characteristic of our True Self that we are rejecting when we encounter it in others, are you implying that this characteristic is potentially something positive? I’m sure the answer is yes, but can’t make that work yet in this situation. I have relaxed my judgment (of the other), can even feel compassion, and I’m sort of seeing how I might actually share that characteristic. But I can’t see that it could be something positive or useful, to be honest. So what do I do? PIAVA understanding of how this characteristic is potentially positive/useful?
The Universe is a Mirror, but it’s a Funhouse Mirror.
For instance, I very clearly judge Greed. Does that mean I’m Greedy? It’s easy (especially if we’ve read Alan Watts’s The Wisdom of Insecurity, or haven’t) to imagine that we have all manner of devilish aims at heart, and there’s a good chance that in some sense we indeed do. And it’s also easy to imagine that we aren’t devilish at all. Of course, if we really are All One, then what does that tell us? It suggests that we would profit from spending a good deal of time exploring how it feels in our body to be, for instance, Greedy. Is there anything about that feeling that is not lovable? That informs us – if we want to help Heal the Planet (=us) – that we have some work to do. Love is not an intellectual exercise.
But let’s go back to our question, does that mean I’m Greedy? If I compare myself to Diana Nyad’s brother, I’m incredibly greedy. She refers to him as schizophrenic; I’d just consider him a Saint. So much for our Judgment- and Competition-centered Culture. But I’m probably more generous than a lot of people. You know, though, I find that most people are very generous in their own way, many remarkably so. I think we’ve discovered that comparing ourself to Others isn’t really very productive. So is there some objective standard against which we can measure Greed? That would help. We can maybe ask a dozen people what behavior they would consider to be Greedy. Do you suppose we’d get a dozen different answers?
The basic issue, is that I am not an adjective.
Breaking down our sentences is often a useful technique. For instance, try
I am sad
in your body, and see how it feels. then try
I feel sad
in your body, and see how that feels. For me at least, I am adverb feels a lot worse than I feel adverb. The former is kind of a dead end, while the latter has a kernel of hope in it. It’s the same with adjectives.
I am Greedy
I can get Greedy at times, or at least Selfish
are pretty different when I try them on in my body too. Blanket statements like the former have an implied always in them, and statements with always or never in them are never true, except this one.
Now, can I think up anything good about being Greedy? Well, I can certainly imagine some not-so-negative synonyms for Greed. Something like
I am able to Receive
might be an example. That’s what I mean by a Funhouse Mirror; what’s reflected is your Judgment, not the object of your Judgment. We aren’t seeing Greed, we’re seeing Judgment. We’re seeing incomplete Self-Love. Again, we recommend Eugene Gendlin’s great little book Let Your Body Interpret Your Dreams. Gendlin’s talking about Dreams per se, but don’t forget that you have no way of knowing whether your “waking” Life isn’t someone’s Dream, probably your own. The techniques in that book apply perfectly well to our “waking” hologram.
So what our friend is saying is that someone somewhere taught them to associate some term with the notion of unrepentably bad. But it’s not the term that they need to explore, it’s the Judgment. If they can identify who taught them that and in what circumstances, that might open them up to greater Self-Love, especially if they Tapped on it. Or not; could be worth a try.
But our friend implies that someone they know has been attempting, and maybe succeeding, to be unrepentingly bad at their expense. Which brings us to one of our most basic rules…
Our friend is reviewing their own circumstances and behaviors and potential “personality characteristics” (the adjectives they own or that other people want them to own), attempting to be constructively critical – a genuine desire to expand Consciousness and clean up any Karma that might be lingering in the wings. But they’re doing that after they’ve gotten out of the “grasp” of whatever “evil” that Other was trying to perpetrate.
And that’s The Most Important Thing. If our friend had been uncertain about their Reactions (some of which are Instincts) when they were in the unpleasant victim circumstance, they could have been hurt or worse, and it’s very unlikely that any Expansion of Consciousness would occur in that case. In fact it would probably be quite the opposite, our friend could have been traumatized, which would have cemented their Limiting Beliefs and probably expanded their scope.
They waited till after they were Safe, and then they examined their behaviors and beliefs.
Which is the way it must be done, if we wish to move forward.