To accept an event as your opportunity to reveal more self honesty is the issue for effective and efficient rates of progress. Gregge Tiffen (The Journey Continues: Economical Rates of Progress – August, 2010)
So often we think of self-honesty as a drag. And we forget that the events of life – no matter how big or how small – are simply there for us as learning opportunities. It isn’t especially hard to remember, yet vigilance and practice are required. This week provided opportunities for both vigilance and practice.
I don’t respond well when someone engages in behavior that annoys me (those who know me are nodding in agreement about now). Having people in my home (most of them strangers whom I’ve never met other than via email or perhaps a telephone conversation) provides frequent events where I have the opportunity to choose not to allow others to disturb my personal peace. As people come and go and interact, I have numerous opportunities to remember that we are all different AND we are all the same.
Sometimes I forget. I get hooked by something a guest says or does. I forget to choose peace and find myself in a (cess)pool of internal thoughts, indignantly criticizing their behavior and imagining just what I might say to set them straight (are you laughing yet?). I forget that these thoughts are a gross misuse of my energy. And, I fail to be aware of the damage they inflict, personally and in the world beyond.
Then, at some point, I remember. I stop. I breathe. I acknowledge that I’ve veered off course, invoking self-honesty sans guilt and self-criticism. I breathe again. I invoke curiosity to discover what different thoughts will shift me and the situation. I breathe. I forgive myself. I find gratitude for the event and the person who brought it forth as a learning opportunity. I remember that they too are on their own unique learning journey. I breathe. I acknowledge how far I’ve come on this journey to build my tolerance of others’ choices. I smile. I breathe. And, I remember too that my learning in this domain is not complete, for while sometimes this is a quick and easy road, for other events I may need hours or days to come to his place. I breathe again with a smile.
We are ONE is a popular theme today. For me this theme overlooks what Gregge Tiffen spoke of as ‘diversity within unity’. Each of us is an individual being with our own unique expressions in life. At the same time, we are each a tiny, integral part of consciousness, the infinite universe. To make the whole work, we need to respect and honor all of the parts. We have countless, if not infinite, opportunities in life to experiment and, hopefully, gain wisdom about how to do so.
Like me, you may get discouraged when you look beyond your immediate environment to the chaos, negativity and disrespect that fills the air waves. But the issue at hand, though it relates to that greater whole, is the events that are in front of us moment to moment, day to day and how we handle them. This is what matters in terms of our individual learning and progress toward knowledge that becomes wisdom through the ages.