Peace dwells where power exists. For most of us, that is exclusively within ourselves. As much as we may think we have influence or control over others, that is mostly illusory. Power may be limited even within ourselves, depending on how conscious we are of our thoughts and actions. Instead, we respond out of pre-programmed conditioning and habit, a state of mostly unconscious existence. In this state, we give power over our peace away to others. Peace returns when we take our power back.
Perspective and Choice
We often think that we have little to no control over how other people make us feel or how we respond, especially if they purposefully did something to hurt or upset us. Though this may appear to be true at first, changing your perspective reveals that you have the power to choose both how you feel and how you respond. The words or actions of others carry the potential to hurt in a couple of ways. 1. When someone’s actions or words indirectly upset us, they didn’t knowingly or purposefully do or say anything to upset us. 2. Someone purposefully and/or knowingly does or says something to upset you. In the case of the former, this is generally due to the action or words bringing a past unresolved hurt or flaw in ourselves to the surface and is actually a great opportunity to discover and heal an unresolved issue. The “offender” was merely the messenger. In the latter, the act of someone purposefully trying to hurt or upset you is likely a subconscious projection in themselves where they may have and/or feel a range of unresolved hurts, poor self-esteem, complexes, or other issues. Compassion for their unconscious suffering can help whatever they did or said to roll off your back, realizing their action was more about them than it was about you.
Beyond this perspective, you still have the choice to take it personally and induce suffering, begin a potential downward spiral, or recognize the situation for what it is, learn something about yourself or others, and continue your merry way. The following story illustrates this approach:
A monk and his student were walking down the road. Suddenly someone ran up behind the monk and forcefully pushed him down before running off. The monk rose to his feet and continued on his way without even turning to look at whoever had pushed him. The student was very surprised and asked the monk why he didn’t turn to face his attacker. The monk simply replied, “they are not my problem.”
Anytime you allow the actions or words of others to upset you, you have consciously or unconsciously given your power away. In this state, your instinctive reaction will perpetuate or worsen an undesirable situation. Not taking it personally and recognizing you have a choice to continue your merry way is empowering to maintain your peace. You cannot be bothered by others unless you choose to give them that power. Knowing a choice is involved, why would you choose to go down that road?
None of this should be interpreted to say you shouldn’t protect yourself or those in your care. If real danger is sensed or innocent victims are at risk, actions to move to safety or to protect yourself and others should be taken.