On Forgiveness and The Shadow

If there is something about another person which irks you, ignore it. This, I believe, is what’s meant by the axiom, “ignorance is bliss”. There is joy in not noticing the misgivings of other people. The only way to truly love your neighbor is to lovingly ignore their personal flaws.

The easiest way to ignore a person’s shortcomings is to focus on that which we perceive to be virtuous about them. This may take spending time with them either physically, or mentally. Ponder upon the “difficult” person, pray for them, sending benevolent intentions toward them and those with whom they have to do. Observe them more. It’s hard to dislike someone when you see them hugging their children or laughing with a friend because we eventually become reminded that they’re really no different than ourselves. In fact, they are ourselves! Don’t be surprised when, over time you begin to feel a sense of familiarity with them, a kinship of sorts. at the very least, a sense of understanding will develop, causing you to give them a little slack whenever they engage in behavior that seems to bother us. “But why, why would I want to spend my waking days trying to like someone?” Look, it’s not the law, but if you’re the type of person whose committed to personal growth and evolution, you’ll be hard pressed to develop more as a person if you cannot learn to somehow widen your circle of care and concern to include the greatest variety of souls on the planet as possible. Your efforts at developing will ever be frustrated and you won’t know why.

The Shadow

A healthy dose of self inquiry is also in order here. We often project qualities that we don’t like about ourselves onto others so that we can deal with them externally. This is a fallacy though for the only way to deal with ourselves is by going inward. If we don’t deal with our own projections, integrating them within ourselves, owning them, facing them and even loving them, those projections will deal with us.

You can always tell when you are projecting your shadow onto another by how you respond in a given situation. If there’s a quality about a person that gives you an intense emotional response whenever it surfaces, as apposed to merely informing, delighting or disturbing us, there’s a good chance that you are dealing with your own shadow and not the person. The only way to deal with the shadow is to take time out of your day, sit in the silence and ask yourself the hard questions, unafraid of the answers. Be willing to face what bothers you, even if it means being brought to tears or having to feel anger. Give yourself permission to do so. It’s okay.

A Confession

I was always made to believe that it’s not okay to feel, or project a sense of confident joy, a sense of feeling successful as a child. As a result, my challenge today is not to feel offended when I perceive this quality in another. One of my practices is to embrace the greatness of Michael Ezell! To not feel guilty or apologetic about success. I’ll tell you a secret: I’m not necessarily there yet. It is a practice that I must do regularly. in order to remain balanced and integrated as a person. I’m just being honest. The awareness of the shadow world is what keeps me from agreeing with the snap judgments that my ego makes about people and circumstances. It also makes it easy for me to embrace and enjoy the power of forgiveness.

-Michael Ezell

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the flower sheds on the heel that has crushed it” -Mark Twain

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