I drew these two cards this morning and I said to myself, “Self… this is going to be an easy post.”
Or maybe too easy?
I mean, when I look at these two cards, I think of the old adage What goes around comes around. Alright, I guess I’m done, right? Blog post written, now I can finish my coffee, go grocery shopping and watch some football today.
However, the voice of HAL comes through this post and says “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.” (now I have to brace myself as I share this post with my wife to find her completely non-plussed by the 2001: A Space Odyssey movie reference, but I’m sorry… I gotta get my geek on). As virtuous as that quote may seem at face value, it sometimes doesn’t say quite enough, in my opinion. Let’s follow the Woo Woo White Rabbit down its burrow hole…
The drawback to the above stated adage is that it implies that we are a depot on a circular track of sorts, that our actions are like a train that leaves the station only to return to us at some point in the future. It operates on the premise that there is the self, the ego, the individual, the Mr. or Ms. Me; then there is the rest of the world that resides outside the demarcation of our identity otherwise known as our skin.
In all actuality the train never really leaves the station. You see, the dividing line between me and the rest of the world is a David Copperfield act. The appearance that we as individuals are separate from everyone else is all smoke and mirrors. But we so often walk around like our identity is a hazmat suit that serves to isolate us from world affairs so our words and actions can operate with impunity.
I love the term instant karma as coined by John Lennon. How we regard others has an instant effect on ourselves. There’s no waiting for karma to check its schedule to find the most inconvenient time to come collect its debt. The woo-woo part of this that I believe in the deepest part of my being is that every single event that we witness outside ourselves is a reflection of our inner landscape. If we observe it happening out there, it’s definitely happening in here.
Thus, the words and actions we take toward another- good, bad, indifferent, delicious, nasty, tender, obnoxious- we really are taking toward ourselves. We can believe that we are clucking our tongues and shaking our heads at the inappropriateness of a character that is begging to invite our denigration, but we are choosing to cast that perspective, which speaks more to our own character than to theirs.
In order for us to truly be the person we wish to be, we must treat and regard others as if they are the personification of our best selves. Does that mean to tolerate injustice and mistreatment of others? No. It means to find the compassion to regard them fully in their humanity, bringing their life experience and personal learnings to bear from their own perspectives. Without compassion for others we cannot possibly have compassion for ourselves.
Trying to create a separation of ourselves from those of whom we disapprove creates a separation of ourselves from ourselves. It is a knee-jerk reaction designed to sequester the dark aspects of who we are in order to avoid having to regard them in any form of self-awareness. When we empathize and embrace the disparate natures of others we will as a result heal the aspects of ourselves in which we have become self-critical and disapproving, because we are them and they are us.