One of my greatest frustrations with the idea of “being spiritual” is this notion that the response to our actions is really the responsibility of the person reacting. I suppose that’s true, I mean I know it’s true that everything we see and hear and experience is almost entirely painted with the colors in our belief palette. All of our past hurts and betrayals stored nicely in little plastic jars ready for use when someone does something to us that makes us want to paint every wall in our house red with hurt.
And the moment we spew the paint from our minds that sage “righteously spiritual” piece of wisdom comes flying back at you “It’s just your perception”. And suddenly you can’t breathe
because the room if filled with the sweet smell of burning smoke and mirrors and all you want to do is cough to cover up your screaming “bullshit” at the top of your lungs.
Ok to be fair, I did say that most of our responses to asshole behaviors from people who supposedly love us, is in fact painted with our colors and our brushes, but that does not diminish the fact that these people are most likely aware of what colors we’re using to paint with, I mean they are our friends, right? They supposedly get you and all your colors, or so you hope, if you have been honest anyway…So one would think they would act with another of those “absolutely enlightened and awakened” spiritual buzz words,impeccability.
Impeccability is in my book of all things that should be spiritual, but most would probably like to skip, because, well, it’s much easier to just hold up the mirror while hiding behind it, is something often forgotten by the person exhibiting said asshole behavior. The word impeccable, to me, means that when we act, we act in a way that is in accordance with our values, in a way in which we can stand back and look at our actions as being free from anything that isn’t aligned with honesty and integrity.
Which by the way are other nifty words you can bandy about as if you actually know what to do with them on your next “journey”. (In case you didn’t know it, that’s what the cool yogi’s are calling retreats these days, oh and if you don’t know what a yogi is, then I’d probably like hanging out with you.)
The way I see it is that friends don’t pour salt into each others wounds, friends do not openly act in a hurtful way and then tell you it’s just your perception. Which essentially means, if you’re an asshole, you don’t get to then pull out the “Get out of being called an asshole free card” in the name of spiritual awakening.
OK, It’s time to put on my big girl panties (you know the ones with OM printed on them) and play with a few other highly conscious and aware words. It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of all of our asshole behavior, because the truth is, we can all be assholes, because in fact we are all human.
My words of the week are:
Boundaries: It’s true that I do have perceptions, some of which are wrong and often my paintings suck, setting boundaries around my values shows the greatest amount of self love for my self. Sticking to them, even more.
Listening: It’s also true that said asshole has his or her own paint set and most of the time we’re all painting blind. So listen to what people say with an understanding that it’s not always about you! (Is that possible!) Asking myself from where am I doing the listening (from my limited perspective or my open mind?) makes a huge difference.
And after all that remember this big word, communication. Relationships essentially all boil down to this one word. Being able to speak with impeccability about our boundaries and listen, understanding that we all have perceptions and they sometimes get in our way of being honest and acting with integrity and that we can choose to forgive the people who act in ways that we might consider asinine because sometimes that’s just what humans do on this crazy journey called life.
Communication is key to every single relationship you have. I find this the most important word out of the three, quite possibly one of the most important words ever to remember and understand thoroughly. Honestly, without communication, how are we to go about our days and be even a tiny bit compassionate? These words to remember are really helpful though and they make sense to make an even more compassionate person.
It took me a lot of time to understand that you must communicate with the people in your life in order to show them what you need and what you want. The words you mentioned above are not only true, but something I will live by. Being compassionate is understanding the other side of the coin, what the person wants instead of focusing solely on your needs. The best way to avoid confrontation is understanding what the other person is going through and why they’re acting the way they are. Understand is the key to good relationships.
I think you really need to define communication as not just making yourself heard, but making sure to hear the other party as well. Most of the time during a conversation we’re so busy thinking about what we want to say next that we don’t actually even really hear what the other person is saying! Believe me if you look for it in yourself you will catch yourself doing this all the time (at least I have!) and it’s a difficult pattern to get out of.
Embracing compassion means embracing listening as well, and I think this article really reinforces that. “Where am I listening from?” is also particularly powerful.
Listening is something so important… These days people just want to talk and talk and talk, they want to impose their perspective, but they don’t want to listen to other people or try to understand others. So definitely listening and communicating (both ways) is something important.