It’s interesting to arrive at the end of a year and look back. The theme for our planet of talking heads seemed to be people wanting others to behave in acceptable ways and have shrill opinions like their own.
Maybe the theme for 2019 could instead be: Can we love enough to leave alone (?). A statement really more than a question from my old teacher. Maybe another way to put it is: Can we love enough to not have an opinion (?)
There is goodness in the cruelest of hearts. We don’t have to agree with or like people. We don’t have to need them to be different. We only have to understand and accept who they are. According to my old teacher that was true love. Feel the lightness in that.
Many years ago I had friends, a couple, who used to knock each other around. They were big drinkers, partiers and got into tremendous fights. He was a fairly small guy so she would mostly win these punch-ups. I liked them because they had a lot of love in their hearts and in many ways were fun to be around. I didn’t judge their propensity to whack each other and never asked them to give it up or advise them in any way. I felt that it wasn’t my place. And rightly so, my philosophy at the time and still is — leave people alone and let them live how they want to live. If they come to you for help or you hear or perceive their cry for help then give it. If not, best left alone.
Yes, many people would find this difficult to accept or even abhorrent. It’s drummed into us at an early age to intervene in people’s lives. But I have found that trying to fix things for people doesn’t work. And I’m sure you yourself have many times jumped in, with an urge to change a person’s situation, and they ended up resenting you and carried on fluffing up their life anyway.
It’s been a year of heightened resentment in many parts of the world. People are racist or bigoted or hateful because they have great difficulty making a connection. But society is forcing them to confront those connections through the media or travel and the fact that we live in such a cosmopolitan world. They feel hurt, angry and confused and react in ways that probably surprise themselves.
They don’t understand their own feelings in relation to those of others. It’s a disconnect they attempt to resolve by wanting others to be like them.
If we can see that someone is imbalanced, or we don’t like the way they are carrying on, then all we can do is connect with their feelings. What they say or how they behave sort of becomes irrelevant. But understanding their feelings goes deep. As they jump up and down complaining, we can ask them: How do you feel about this? Or one that I like is a simple statement: Oh, that’s how you feel.
But for myself I am constantly asking: What is the feeling here in this situation? When I understand that, I can then answer ‘yes’ to the question: Can we love enough to leave alone (or to not have an opinion, or to not want things to be different, or to be with someone in silence)?
Feel the peace in that. Best to you for 2019.