Everyone as Self

By Andrea Avari Stevens, Ph.D. 

I have had a lesson lately.  It wasn’t an easy one.   I knew that I drew this lesson to me to learn something.  I didn’t really want to learn the lesson but the lesson just kept on knocking on my door.  I picture this door as the door of my soul.  My soul wanted me to grow.  Sometimes I just don’t want to grow but my experiences tell me it is true that whatever I resist does persist. 

The short story is that I felt someone had not been honest with me about a business contract.  It wasn’t just a feeling; it was a verifiable fact.  It was difficult for me to understand why I would draw this to me. Hey, I am a good person.  I am doing my work.  Why should I have to experience this trauma?  Yes, there are times when the ‘victim mentality’ in me just wants to have the stage all to herself.

On the other hand, I have been studying the concept of compassion more deeply than ever before.  I was struck by Karen Armstrong’s work with compassion.  Karen won the TED $100k prize this year and was able to have one wish granted.  Her wish was to work with others to create a Code of Compassion, just two pages of how compassion can really work in the world.  Armstrong said that compassion means having an understanding with another person…..really understanding, getting your ego out of the way.  It means treating other people as you would want to be treated.  

So I thought I would use that awareness to work with this breach of contract.  I have parts of me that are fragments that are separated from the wholeness that is my soul.  For example, when I think I am not good enough in some situation and I stay in that judgment of myself, the part of me that is judged is fragmented off in pain and separation.  If I want to be free of pain and move into wholeness, it is my responsibility to nurture that wounded part of me with compassion and hold it continuously as a mother holds a fearful child.  It is similar to shining the light into the darkness.  The area is illuminated and the energy is transformed.  

So my wounded parts become integrated one after another, slowly over time.  If I look at the billions of people on this planet I realize that each is a reflection of some facet of me.  The ones that flow seamlessly through my life represent the qualities which I have that are healed.  The people who come jumping up and down into my life with qualities that upset me are simply doing the same thing: reflecting qualities I have in my own personality.  

That is the challenging part; I don’t really like to admit that.  But if I am to grow in my life emotionally, mentally, and spiritually (and if I don’t, it can affect my physical life as well), I can open up to embrace that part of me without judgment.  Using only compassion, I embrace that part with love…with no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  When I embrace that quality in me, I can embrace that same quality in others and vice versa.  

That means I see everyone as self.  Everyone is a mirror of me.  I want to treat them as I would want to be treated….with respect for being a human being with a spark of the Divine within them……just like me. 

When I am ready to talk or write to that person who breached the contract, I have done my work of holding the emotion in compassion and just sitting with it as the energy transforms.  Sometimes journaling or talking with friends can help prepare me for that holding and nurturing of my emotion.  

And then my understanding can be real.  Is there a way that I can put myself in that person’s shoes and imagine to any degree how they came to choose the action that they did?  If I sit or walk with that idea for a while, most likely a feeling of some understanding washes over me.  And then I ask myself…..how do I sometimes breach contracts, large and small?  Perhaps they are contracts with myself that I rationalize and then move in a different direction contrary to my goals.  When was the last time that I broke a contract, didn’t tell the exact truth, stretched my imagination to justify my actions?  Hmmmmmmmmmm.  

Can I hold that part of me in compassion and forgive it and love it with the fullness of my heart?  And then can I treat the other person with that same feeling.  It doesn’t mean that I do not stand up for myself.  It doesn’t mean that I just forget it.  It also doesn’t mean that I simmer in resentment for a while.  It means that I treat them as I do myself in a healing mode, with respect and understanding while I state my needs and actions to be taken.  It means that how I treat you is how I treat myself because we are one and the same. 

As I heal myself so I create more light in the world.  As each person chooses to heal, each human being illuminates radiating light on those around them.    Eventually, we are all illuminating loving energy, treating ourselves and each other as we all want to be treated.  And all it takes is courage to be compassionate. That means I have to take the time to not react from my head but to allow the space for my heart to expand and link with my mind.   Old times would say that I used to speak with a biting tongue.  I learned it well from a great teacher in my childhood.  But I am not that biting tongue in my inner Self.  I can choose another way.  Now I can write my letter in a way that expresses my limits in a way that is respectful of the other person’s boundaries as well.  And the stress that would normally weigh me down……..evaporates. 

Copyright 2009.  http://www.andreaavari.com  

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