Human beings come in all shapes and sizes. No two are completely alike, and yet, we each find types of people who we most get along with. It is a natural and wonderful process that as we grow, our friends and relationships evolve and grow as well. With some people we’ll grow closer, and others further apart.
Holding on and clinging to relationships that we’ve outgrown can be painful. Similarly, cutting people out too early can isolate us. The key is to not get swept away by one extreme or the other, and to find that middle path.
It’s very common for people who have just discovered spirituality to suddenly think everyone else needs to discover it as well. (Wondering how to manage a relationship if your partner is at a different place spiritually than you are? Listen to my latest podcast.) And while sharing things we love with the people we love is a beautiful act, there’s a fine line between that and preaching, forcing, or coercing.
I know it can be difficult to see our loved ones suffering. It’s made worse when we feel certain we know the solution for them. But the answer to dealing with the suffering of others is the same as the answer to how we deal with any other form of suffering: the work lies within.
When we struggle because of the actions of others, that is a cosmic signpost pointing us to look inward instead. This frustration we feel doesn’t stem from other people making choices based on their lived experiences. The frustration stems from our own expectations, our own inability to sit with other people’s poor choices, and from our own lack of compassion and understanding.
With compassion and understanding, we will be able to lend a hand with no expectations. We will know when to offer a kind word or when to listen. We will know when someone is really ready to change or when they just need a hand on theirs.
When we stay with the moment, stay with the discomfort, and stay present for ourselves and the other person, we will be able to accept the other person’s choices no matter how much we disagree. We will be able to accept the consequences that come from their choices. And we will be able to sit with, accept, and make peace with our own feelings of frustration as well. This is the practice and this is how we transmute conflict into compassion.
The best way to inspire, encourage and motivate anyone to change for the better is by being a true example of love and selflessness. The further you go on your journey and the more joyful you become, the more people will want to know your secret. If we get frustrated because someone isn’t listening to us, we are only showing them that our spiritual practice is not as effective as we say it is. Every stressful situation is a spiritual practice in disguise.
Life is no doubt a crazy and miraculous mystery. There is the infinite eternal oneness, and then we have these bodies that have to interact with the practical world of time and space. Sometimes, spiritual people can feel like aliens, especially when relating to other people who haven’t experienced this.
And so, we must master both realms. We must be able to experience complete oneness with the universe, and that we have these temporary roles and responsibilities to fulfill. It’s really a matter of having one foot in the pool and one foot out, and being able to find the comfort and peace in both.
We can both enjoy the beingness, and we can also enjoy the doingness. It’s about flowing with whatever situation arises with skilled mindfulness. Being totally mindful of our situations takes us out of our heads, out of anxiety, and into the present moment. Being fully present lets us remove any worries and doubts, and being mindful of our own anxieties helps us recognize them, and then we can choose to either listen to them or ignore them. The choice is always ours.
As this week ends and another begins, let’s keep in our minds those who are struggling. Let us keep them in our hearts. If that’s you, send yourself some extra love as well (You can also try this very powerful and easy PoT meditation for extra love and positivity this week). May we help alleviate the suffering of living beings everywhere. May we all be happy and well. May our minds be free from anger, greed, hatred and fear. And may we find peace of mind.
PS – Kids today are blasted by more advertising, more media, more messaging, and more influences than ever before. Today, kids’ lives are moving in hyperdrive compared to 20 years ago. It might have a positive side, like having more access to information, however it is often at the detriment of their mental health and well-being. IIf you have kids and wonder if meditation can help, what age they should start, and how to get kids to do it and love it, you can read more about it in my recent article.
In this article just for the moms, I share simple steps for how busy mothers can become more mindful, more present, less stressed, and less overwhelmed. Hope you find them helpful.
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