Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Having Compassion for the Fearful and Resistant in Us

The Value of Spiritual Growth and the Courage Necessary for the Journey

Imagine being a blind person sitting on the couch in your livingroom.  How would you feel about the placement of the things in your house.  Would you feel comfortable having someone come in and move around the furniture or shift the location of the doorways?  Probably not.  My guess is that it would be very important to you for everything to stay in the same place that it had always been.  Any changes would probably leave you feeling lost and unsafe.

Now imagine being that same person on the couch, but that your sight has slowly begun to return!  Now how would you feel about the placement of those things in your house?  My guess is that the better your vision became, the more willing you would be to let your surroundings be altered.  You might even want to experiment yourself with more efficient or beautiful arrangements that enhanced your home. With sight, your sense of safety comes from within, and you no longer depend on the way things were placed in your external world. No longer afraid, you would be free to play with the possibilities!

This is a metaphor that describes the value of spiritual growth and development. The blind man represents the stage in our development  when we depend totally on our external rules and rituals to provide us with a sense of meaning and identity (not just religious ones…). We depend on the way things are “arranged” in our small world to make us feel safe and in control. If someone challenges our way of understanding life, we get angry and argumentative, self-righteous and intolerant. We desperately need to make the other wrong. And when we have to be (need to be) right, truth is really not the issue - fear is, the fear that our sense of reality, our truth, could collapse.  

Imagine such a personality to be built like a pyramid of coffee cups from the person’s unique beliefs and perceptions.  When confronted with different beliefs and ways of perceiving, it may feel as if one or more of the cups in the foundation of that pyramid is being jiggled, threatened.  This can be very scarey  because it feels as if the whole structure could topple, and with it, the person's sense of reality. That’s a very scary place to be in!!  In extreme cases, differences become such a threat to the person’s existence that they feel they must destroy the other (like the terrorists…). Of course, most of us don’t engage in physically destroying others…  but, we might attack ever so subtly at the mental or emotional level. And we’ve all been there at some time or another.

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