Always something to Stand Against
One of the ego’s favorite tricks to keep you immersed in the world that it has created is to keep you upset about things. It is quick to be offended. It likes to create conditions of Us versus Them. It signs you up for causes that have lots more to do with Against than For.
I am not for a moment suggesting that you ignore injustice or refuse to help those in need. What I am suggesting is that you are much stronger when you come from a place of love and fighting for something you believe in.
Your ego will make others into bad guys so you can freely hate them or be angry with them.
It will tell you that those with different ideologies than yours do not deserve your respect as human beings.
It will also tell you that the person who did a thoughtless thing—cutting you off in traffic, butting in line, snapping at you for no reason—no doubt did so because they were horrible human beings who just wanted to hurt you, rather than people with complex lives who may be having a traumatic experience or crisis.
The bottom line is, the ego loves it when you get offended. At the root of offense, judgment, polarization, and anger is the belief that something should not be what it is.
I am sure you have heard the saying, “What we resist, persists.” It would be great if we could just decide to surrender to everything. It doesn’t quite work that way, since resistance is not primarily a mental condition.
You may need to do some self-talk when resistance arises. It is usually accompanied by the word “should/shouldn’t” so it’s pretty easy to spot. You might say to your ego, “Everything is perfect exactly as it is.”
The really life-changing practice, however, is dealing with what is happening on an emotional level. Often, we go straight to anger when we are resisting, because it covers up what is really happening emotionally. So, ending resistance is about allowing yourself to feel the full range of emotions that are arising in you at the moment. When anger is sparked, don’t shut it down. Take it deeper. What lies behind that anger? Often it is grief and sadness. Just sit there with your emotions. Allow then to fill you. Let your heart ache. Let the feeling last as long as it needs to. Then gently, with deep breaths, allow it to dissipate.
There really isn’t anything to do in that moment. There are only things to feel.
This practice sounds simple, but it is quite challenging. Most of us spend quite a bit of our time completely avoiding what we feel. Surrendering is about letting what is happening, happen. That begins with emotions.
If there is a tragedy, and you allow yourself to feel your response fully, then later you may choose to take some action to alleviate the pain of those involved in the tragedy. If so, you will be choosing to do so from compassion, which is a much better basis for action.
If someone has behaved in a way that is disrespectful or harmful to you or someone you love, you may later decide to take an action to remedy that. If you have fully processed your emotions, you will be able to take actions from a place of love for your self or your loved one, which is much more effective than revenge or anger.