Blog – June 9, 2020
“Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I hate you”
This quote has circulated a lot on social media since the start of the pandemic. I really like it. I think hate is a strong word but I also think that how we feel, when others don’t agree with us, depends on how unknowingly cemented we are in our beliefs and how much pain is left unresolved in our bodies.
I am reminded of something Deepak Chopra discusses in his book “Spiritual Solutions” about how our deep rooted core beliefs are enmeshed with our sense of self. In other words “what I believe” is deeply woven into the fabric of “who I am”. This explains why so many of us become reactive and lash out when someone else expresses a strong opinion that differs from our own. We feel personally attacked when our core beliefs are questioned and our automatic response is to defend and protect. This is particularly challenging for those of us who have not spent time doing “inner work”. And why we sometimes say one thing but then act in a manner contrary to what we say. We are so unaware of how ingrained our core beliefs are that we don’t even notice our behaviour. So it stands to reason that the less aware we are and the more suffering we’ve endured, the more reactive we are.
I cannot help but feel that everything that is happening in the world right now is a very loud invitation for us all to start waking up. We are all being asked to RSVP! This is a golden opportunity for us to take a deeper look at ourselves and start asking the bigger questions. Is what I believe, what I am thinking, saying or doing for the highest good? Is it intended to harm or heal? What are my motivations? Do we even see, hear and feel what is going on or are we so disconnected from ourselves we don’t notice? One of the helpful things we can do now is become aware when we feel triggered. Can we take a pause before responding? Notice and feel? Can we try to see things from another perspective? Can we take a few moments to imagine what it might be like to live in another person’s shoes?
I have read stories about people who recognized within themselves harmful beliefs and chose to dive right in to try to change how they felt. Like a minister I once read about who admitted to having racist beliefs and decided to live among the people he had once had no regard for. Becoming intimately connected with the whole community through their day to day lives, he was successful at overcoming what he once experienced and healed himself from the old entrenched belief. There are many stories like this about people choosing to overcome unhealthy personal biases and unjust core beliefs. We need to continue to be inspired by them and do our own work to rise above.
As someone who has been practicing yoga and studying spirituality, health and wellness for over a decade, I still feel like a babe on my path to awakening. I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. What I can say I’ve learned so far about myself and this human experience is that my ongoing inner journey is the most valuable journey I have ever undertaken. I still get triggered, feel annoyed, think judgmentally and tend to run and hide more often than I’d like to admit but I am more aware of this now and more often than not, I can take a step back and consciously and constructively explore my options. What emotions am I feeling? How is my body reacting to this? Do I feel personally attacked? Is this true? How does it feel deep in my heart? Can I try to see things from another perspective? From a place of awareness I can then make better choices.
So how do we become more aware? How do we wake up? How do we evolve into becoming a unified race of beings? How do we maintain our sense of individuality and still contribute to a collective wellbeing?
One small step at a time. Inner work is a lifelong undertaking and it’s never too late to begin. We can start by noticing the quality of our thoughts, words and actions and take responsibility for their affect on us and others. We admit there is personal healing to be done and seek help and guidance for that when needed. We learn to love ourselves unconditionally despite all of our screwups. We learn how to forgive ourselves and others. We share with others what our experiences are so fewer of us feel so alone. We learn to connect to a deeper part of ourselves, beyond beliefs, where all the answers await. We share our unique gifts with the world despite how scary that may feel. We become intimately connected to our own souls and listen for the reminders about love being the only thing that heals and that truly matters. We regularly ask ourselves “who am I” and “how can I make a difference”. We strive to do the best we can each and every day. And on days when we mess up, we clean up and prepare to start again, a new day, open to better choices and endless new possibilities.
Evolution and change begin to occur organically when we simply take the time to become more aware and share.
With love and blessings