Do you also believe that we teach others how to treat us? It is a motto I have religiously adhered to for most of my adult life. However, I must add that I have made some radical changes to my ‘teaching strategy’ over the years, and this change in my approach has brought me much inner peace and harmony with others. I have learned that we can ‘teach others’ with much less fuss and drama.
I was also one of the many ‘first wave’ Indigo children who arrived on our planet in the 60’s and 70’s. I was a gifted and very unusual child, growing up in an extremely conservative and conformist society. I carried a target on my forehead from my very first day in kindergarten. I was bullied and ridiculed for most of my childhood and teenage years. South Africa under apartheid was not the most friendly place for anyone who dared to be different in any way.
I certainly wasted no time exercising my new found personal freedom. I was very much inspired by the newly achieved democracy in my country and those who had fought for it. In my own way, I also had a voice now and I wanted to use it. It was important to me to put the ‘bad guys’ in their place. Mean, nasty behavior had to have consequences. Keeping my mouth shut or backing down was no longer an option. I was never going to return willingly to that psychological prison created by others’ small-mindedness. I was, after all, busy teaching the world how to treat me and I had a lot of catching up to do. I certainly was not going to take any prisoners.
Fortunately, we never stop learning and over the years I have come to realize that this ‘fight for your right’ approach offers very little spiritual fulfillment or lasting inner peace. I have in time discovered that it is mostly the weak who react in anger or frustration. It is the weak who constantly seeks justice or revenge. It is the weak who feels compelled to be tough and defiant.
Standing your ground is trivial and has very little to do with your inner strength. The truly enlightened and wise find their power in unconditional love. Who is right and who is wrong is spiritually insignificant. Truly powerful people seldom have any need for excessive self-defense or forcing their views upon others. It simply does not matter. Do you want to be right… or do you want to make a difference in the world?
Claiming your place in the sun and staying true to yourself does not have to involve any form of violent conviction, dogged persistence, foolish bravery or brute force. There is nothing that you have to prove to anyone. There is nobody that must be resisted or refuted or convinced by you at all cost. Not everything needs to be changed by you; everyone and everybody does not require your supervision or control. Your opinion is not always required. When you are in alignment with your higher self and your true life purpose, others can behave as they wish; you won’t even notice.
When you are in that ‘zone ‘ it simply does not matter what other people say or do or think. What matters is how you respond to them. There are never any winners if there also has to be losers, no matter what the circumstance. Jesus referred to it as “turning the other cheek” and “doing unto others”; the Buddha talked of "cultivating a limitless heart” and the Prophet Muhammad encouraged the “conquest of self” and "loving our fellow-beings first”. It does not matter how one describes it. What matters is how ‘the zone’ makes you feel, and what it enables you to do in order to make the world a better place.
All of this may seem like a lot of hard work, but it does not have to be. Getting into the ‘zone’ is much easier than you may think. Deepak Chopra describes it as following the Law of Least Effort. There are three components to this law, namely acceptance, responsibility and defenselessness, which he outlines in his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.
Chopra explains that acceptance simply means that you make a commitment: ‘Today I will accept people, situations, circumstances and events as they occur.’ This means you will know that this moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be”.
Responsibility means “not blaming anyone or anything for your situation, including yourself. This allows you the ability to have a creative response to the situation as it is now. All problems contain the seeds of opportunity, and this awareness allows you to take the moment and transform it to a better situation or thing.”
Finally, he describes the most important component of getting into the ‘zone’, namely becoming defenseless. He defines this process as “relinquishing the need to convince or persuade others of your point of view. If you relinquish this need you will in that relinquishment gain access to enormous amounts of energy that have been previously wasted”.
I also recommend three simple rules of thumb that I try to follow to help me stay in my ‘zone’. The first is to always pick your battles carefully and to let the Law of Karma take care of the rest. The second is to not buy into other people’s drama. The third is to recognize that you were never supposed to be anybody’s doormat, so don’t allow yourself to go down that slippery slope in the first place.
Does this mean that we should always remain silent when we are made victims, or look the other way when we see atrocities committed? Not at all. Nelson Mandela did not remain silent. Neither did Mahatma Ghandi. But they also came to the realization during the course of their lives that using force to convince others was not the best way to change the world.
Some bullies just have the uncanny ability to drag you away from your ‘path of least resistance’ and, before you know it, you are completely out of your ‘zone’. On those occasions one tends to forget all your best intentions and give in to anger, hurt or frustration. Even Jesus had his moment, when he entered the temple courts and drove out the money lenders with a considerable display of violent behavior!
But it gets easier with practice and one does become stronger. And while I learn to let go more and more each day, I find comfort in the words of Jack Kornfield who once said that “a genuine spiritual path is not to avoid difficulties but to learn the art of making mistakes wakefully, to bring them to the transformative power of our heart”.
© 2011 Anthon St Maarten