Over the years, I have become very aware that every feeling I experience, every negative thought about another, every judgement that I make, is really only telling me about me. I was reading the book, The Gentle Art of Blessing, this morning and these words spoke to me:
“No one can be our ‘enemy’ (or a total bore, or pain-in-the-neck, or whatever unflattering adjective we all occasionally feel like applying to others)….. Absolutely everything that happens to us in life, everything we are aware of, is filtered through the filter of our consciousness, our perception. An event ‘in itself’ does not exist. We interpret all events, all encounters, every single sensual impression.”*
There is no better way to know ourselves, than to pay attention to our feelings and thoughts about others, and our world.
I spent a lot of time looking at my judgements about other people, and it was a necessary first step to knowing myself. When I began this process of uncovering myself, it was very painful. Who wants to see petty, mean, harsh, jealous, critical, unhappy, morally righteous and superior thoughts, not as a statement about “the other”, but as condemnations of ourselves?
But through this spiritual exercise, I grew to see myself more clearly and was able to catch this tendency to criticize others (seeing that I was really only looking at me, reflected in their behaviour) more easily, and it led me to the next step, which was/is, the revelation that every good, appreciative, loving, and lovely feeling was/is also a window into myself.
When I see someone as caring, I am seeing myself. When I see someone as competent, successful, expansive (and I feel appreciation for these qualities in them), I am seeing myself. When I notice beauty, I am noticing myself. When I see a very patient person, I am seeing myself. When I notice a kind gesture, I am noticing myself. When I hear wisdom, I am hearing myself.
I didn’t look for the good in myself…for a long time. I didn’t think that noticing it (in the world) had anything to do with who I was. I believed that all spiritual/emotional progress was made by digging out the bad, the wrong, the unhealthy tendencies, the hidden crap. I was always digging, hoping to eventually uncover it all so I could finally be at peace and be happy. I got lost in the first step.
We are seeing, hearing, and feeling ourselves at every turn.
In two days it will be Thanksgiving. I am inviting you to join me in noticing yourself in the good, the lovely, the beautiful, the generous, the kind, the surprising, the wise. I am also inviting you to join me in silently saying (each time you notice these wonderful things) “I am that”, and then in becoming aware of how you feel, in recognizing your beautiful self, in the world around you.
If you’d like to (and feel brave!) please share these experiences of your magnificent self here on the blog (as many times as you’d like to over the next few days). Many of us have no problem telling ourselves and others about our faults and defects of character, but when it comes to telling our magnificence….
So I will begin;
Last night Jack and I ate at a wonderful restaurant in Vergennes, VT, called the Black Sheep Bistro. As we walked toward the entrance, we saw a couple of people busily working, draping large, full, garlands of real evergreens, surrounded by spirals of lights, around the outside windows. I paused to let them know how much I appreciated their work. They smiled and thanked me. I appreciate this kind of detail, and in that moment, I could see myself too.