Years ago I was in a relationship with a woman who was prone to lying in bed for an entire day feeling ‘down’ but not depressed and could not explain why.
It bothered me. I was in my very early 20’s then, and had no understanding of or empathy for her. My seeing at the time could not consider that there were valid reasons for her behavior. On some level I felt responsible for her depressive behavior, and it’s likely some guilt was present in me that gave way to my feeling annoyed and cold toward her.
Years later, our relationship over by then, I had learned that those born on her birth date, under the sign Cancer, have an innate empathic ability to take in the the energy of their environment and can therefore be impacted on energetic and emotional levels.
As energetic beings comprised mostly of water, we all have this innate, empathic ability. It seems that her birth configuration made her more susceptible than most.
This insight helped me understand her, although years after our relationship ended. I remember feeling pangs of remorse for having been indifferent to her and what she was dealing with while vowing to be empathetic and compassionate. I fail often.
Being ignorant does not give me any space to be thoughtless.
Yet, reflexively, I, we, fill the space of what we don’t know with what we think we know. Our programming takes over. Then our communications are hijacked by our programming and our connections with others are disrupted and cut off by the interference of our emotions, our pains, our fears, our memories, and our thoughtlessness.
Then more pain.
And the wound not seen is not any less than the wounds that are. A gash across the chest is not any less painful than the ones felt in the heart, in the soul. Invisible scars are more disfiguring than the visible ones. A word can be said with as much or greater fury and malice than can be hurled with a fist. And silence, the indifferent, dismissive, even malicious kind, can harm more than words.
In spite of all the abuse I myself had endured in my life I could not muster the empathy to reach out to her. I did not see the distress signal as such. I did not inquire beyond the trite, ‘what’s wrong?’
I write about this because the theme of relationships keeps coming up for me in graphic ways. Through what others are going through and have gone through, and what I myself am experiencing, it seems that relationships, and individuals, are challenged and afflicted like never before.
Complexity and perplexity are increasingly entangled, especially among those who consciously are striving to evolve and transform themselves and the world with them.
And it’s not what we are that’s making it difficult; it’s our programming, or what we think we are. It’s our beliefs, experiences, memories, fears, perceptions, hopes, and pleasures that form our model of life and living as individuals in relationship to others. And these are what shape our circumstances.
Therefore, it becomes easy, too easy, lazy even, to consider only what we see, what we hear, what we know, what we feel and what we think and base our conclusions on only these.
Somehow, we have to stop to consider what we DON’T KNOW, to consider the realm of darkness (i.e., the unknown) where we can find the causes, sources, and factors the flesh out the context and story of what we are beholding and experiencing in ourselves and others.
Not doing this means we perpetuate patterns in which we are acting out our programming, not responding to the moment; speaking to be heard, not listening to understand; and reacting, not inquiring.
These patterns are born from a perception of reality as originating outside ourselves and a perception of all things and people as separate.
We don’t see, or don’t want to acknowledge, our part in co-creating the reality we are in. We want to be free of responsibility for the things we complain about so we maintain our distance and separation from them.
Why? So we can keep being ‘right’ with our ‘righteous indignation’ and uphold our judgmental ways. When we perceive all things as separate our virtues are exaggerated and our sins are never that bad; the other is always wrong and we are always ‘right’.
But sitting across the table from you, lying in bed next to you, living nextdoor to you….is you. It’s not another. It’s you being reflected right back at you. Life is a mirror, karma can be a bitch, and we cannot escape it. We cannot claim ignorance anymore. We can’t run and hide.
Stand and face who you are. Look right into that mirror of life, look inside your soul, and keep your eyes and your heart wide open.
Do you like what you see?
Do you like what you feel?
Can you just sit with that?
Can you allow yourself to feel your pain, your sadness, your loneliness, your anger, your anguish, your frustrations and just sit with them without reaching out for relief or comfort?
Can you sit with your reality?
Can you sit with your fears?
Can you sit with the monster in the closet, the demons in the night, and the ghosts in your mind? Can you release them?
Can you sit with your bullies, with those who assaulted you, raped you and abused you? Can you forgive them?
Can you sit with your parents who failed you? Can you understand them?
Can you sit with your shadows and still love and accept yourself as you are?
Can you wipe your own tears and be tender with yourself?
Can you be compassionate toward yourself? Forgiving? Loving? Accepting?
Can you feel yourself breathing a little easier and calmer now?
Can you now feel what another might be feeling?
Can you now, maybe, understand them a little bit better?
Can you love them as they are?
Because once we do this we break new ground and enter a new space of being, of feeling, of understanding, of loving and acceptance.
Then we meet our Self, our TRUE SELF, that SELF that lives and expresses in all, through all, as all. The SELF that is everlasting, incorruptible, and that makes all things possible.
And when we meet our SELF in us we see that SELF in all others. Then there is no ‘other’. There is only one.
This is what we truly are.