When wounded, our knee jerk reaction is to even the score. Instead of moving forward, our mental energy is then diverted to a lower emotional level – one which keeps us in a rut of powerlessness, pain, and self-pity. There is an old Chinese proverb: “Don’t make things so hot that you yourself get burned.” Your efforts to make someone else suffer will only boomerang, at which point people may forget who started the brawl.
Sinking to someone else’s level only let’s other people know you are equal part scoundrel – a social mercenary who spends time on meaningless pursuits. Although we think of reciprocity as being positive, in cases when we we’re wronged we should practice the opposite – reverse reciprocity. Not only will you feel better, but you will know you didn’t have a hand in promoting more suffering. I read of a Holocaust survivor who (having lost his career, his vocation, and most of his family) still forgave his perpetrators. Forgiveness may therefore be what separates us from savages.
One story I find particularly remarkable is that of Amy Biehl, who was dragged from her car and murdered in South Africa. Not only did her mother forgive the killers, but she actually returned to give one of them a job at the Amy Biehl Foundation. Even if you don’t go to these extraordinary lengths to repair a wrongdoing, simply wishing well to the perpetrator can help you move on with your life. In order to stick, a new behavior should be practiced every day for twenty one days.
We get caught up in a negative loop while focusing on what isn’t working, or, what hasn’t worked in the past. Note that this is exactly the place in which your accuser wants you. A woman whose child was kidnapped said that she refused to let the kidnapper steal other aspects of her life – her marriage, relationships, and her mental health.
Succumbing to negative emotion prevents us from doing the positive work of healing, of setting an example, and of using our mental resources for something that would enhance the common good (and, preventing similar instances from occurring). Through self-absorption the soul rots from within; entering our prayers into the positive may be a much more fruitful endeavor.
Does the world of vulnerability, selflessness, and spiritual connection allow for relationship on a level previously unimagined?
Carse terms the connection to God Mind, or unitive consciousness, genius:
“The paradox of genius exposes us directly to the dynamic of open reciprocity, for if you are the genius of what you say to me, I am the genius of what I hear you say. What you say originally I can only hear originally. When the genius of speech is abandoned words are not said originally but repetitively.”
If burdened by bad emotions, things appear in a frequency that we don’t understand; life appears happenstance instead of harmonious. The genius of which Carse speaks is a view through the eyes of the observer, one who sees with true discernment the reality of each situation. Only when we allow ourselves to be a conduit of egoless discovery will this miracle in human perception occur. We would then see not with human eyes, but with the perspective of the Divine.