Saying For Today: If we do this and work to align with our own deepest self, we arrive at an impromptu seeing of the deepest self of the other. This self is our self. Hence, the right view of the other arises not from the mind but the heart.
The Beauty is in our differences, not despite those differences. We are all on the road Home, dressed in different garb... Spirit manifests in and as this diversity.
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I am driving my truck out of a parking lot; she is driving into it. She is in her twenties. Part of her head is shaved bald. She has dyed the other part bright orange. Her hair, in disarray, to me resembles a mop.
The thought arises, "I've never seen hair look like that." What I mean is not the color but the mop look. When seeing persons with hair dyed 'unnatural' colors, I recall how a family member would complain of it.
I certainly do not favor this young woman's hairstyle. Yet, the feeling is that it is okay. I affirm the strangeness without preferring it and without seeing it as warranting criticism. This embrace feels good, unlike when such would elicit criticism.
* * *
The above anecdote arose in the Silence this morning, years after the event. With it came the words, "There go I."
We can celebrate in others what we do not choose ourselves. We might not favor a particular look or behavior, but we can welcome it.
Spirit sees the person first, not the appearance or the behavior as first. From the heart, we can share in this spontaneous seeing. When the mind casts up opposition arising from our past, we can return to the heart. The heart sees always present tense. It does not see through the lens of the past.
If we allow, we come to feel no disfavor at all regarding what before elicited disapproval. Until then, we can respect the choice of the other.
If we touch the life of the other deeply, seeing beyond appearance, we can move beyond respect, tolerance, and inclusion. The beyond is in the words, "There go I." At this point, there is no intent of inclusion, no effort to accept; there is spontaneous embrace. Until this natural welcome arises, we practice kindness when relating with others who appear different from us. If we do this and work to align with our own deepest self, we arrive at an impromptu seeing of the deepest self of the other. This self is our self. Hence, the right view of the other arises not from the mind but the heart. This heart is our true self.
So, the next time you feel averse to another person, relax into the feeling - do not just deny it. Without adding to the feeling by giving it negative commentary - just observing -, watch the criticism or discomfort dissipate in the glow of Awareness. Feel how this feels contrasted with the feeling of opposition or criticism.
Last, if you are critical of others, this does not just affect you. You are watering the seeds of prejudice in yourself, yes, but you are creating an atmosphere that brings suffering to others. I felt deep hurt for many years when in the presence of the family member mentioned above. This person was highly critical of persons he saw to be unlike him. To him, that meant they were wrong, not merely different. As I moved more toward inclusion, away from prior conditioning, this faultfinding would cut through me like a grief knife. It was mirrored in his disapproval of how I had become different from him. I was seen as wrong, along with others who offered a challenge to his lifestyle and beliefs. The criticism did not feel like love to me, though I know this person loved me. I realize too he was acting out the conditioning he had been shaped by from his environment. So, we must stop the cycle we inherit and stop the wrong view. As we seek to clean up our natural environment, making it healthier, we need to do this about our mental environment. We must realize how our negative attitude toward others affects persons around us and how deeply it can hurt those who find it unkind. Such negativity is like a toxin. Kindness is like sweet-smelling perfume. I prefer to spread the latter. In doing so, others are blessed, and I am blessed. Your kindness makes a difference, a positive difference.
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse. The book consists of poems based on wisdom traditions, predominantly Christian, Buddhist, and Sufi, with extensive notes on the poetry's teachings and imagery.