Monday, July 10, 2017

What to do when squeezed by life Psychologist, Wayne Dyer used a metaphor to describe what happens when a person is squeezed as in stressful situations – being caught in traffic, a fight with a friend or spouse, not getting the raise, overwhelmed at work. His illustration was that when you squeeze a lemon what comes out of it is lemon juice. The reason for that is simple – what is inside the lemon is lemon juice. By the same token, when you are squeezed by life – experience stress what comes out of you? Anger, hate, compassion, empathy, patience, love? The spiritual teacher, Osho, states the precept a bit differently. He says we can build an appearance of morality, culture, kindness, and following the rules of our tribe or religion, but when faced with challenge, such as being insulted, the façade disappears and what comes forth is the hidden anger or animalistic tendencies. In other words, you can become a volcano concentrated only on violence, revenge, and getting even. Once the threat goes away, the animal nature submerges into its underground cave and the belief is that I am calm and will never be angry, greedy, jealous, hateful again. What you have really done is constructed an illusory self. Your hidden egoic, animalistic self awaits the next confrontation. Who you are when under stress is who you have constructed yourself to be without the façade of good manners and appropriateness. What is to be done, you ask? Creating an illusory self is easy. We were taught to do that as children. Be respectful to elders; have manners; say please and thank you, restrain yourself. To go beyond the ego and shape, educate, and cultivate your real self is a lot of work. It can be arduous, but well worth the effort. To do so you must face your ego, reactionary self, or your wound/ inner pain. That means when you find yourself reacting with negative emotion, stop, wait, breathe and ask yourself what you are feeling and what is the purpose? This stopping gives you a moment to relax into your true self, or compassionate self. The person that requires compassion at that moment is YOU. The pain your animal nature reacts to is illusory. Someone’s insult relates to him and not you. Taking a moment can bring you back to center to realize this truth. You are a being centered in love. The person in front of you is operating out of pain. This has nothing to do with you. There are many people occupying the earth with wounds from the past – situations they have taken personally and have erroneously believed have some bearing on their own sense of self. Developing “victim” mentality is a given in our world as we are continually confronted with stories of people who have lost some battle, got the short end of the stick, live in sorry conditions, have had a rough life. We buy into these stories, become indignant, and place our attention on helplessness rather than empowerment. We can shift our attention to responsibility, self-empowerment and love whenever we wish. This is a basic change that must be made to develop self-honesty and remain centered. Once you have created a calm self with real energy it cannot be shattered. Emotion can be transformed to love by facing the fear that presents itself as anger, jealousy, guilt, shame. We face it and reeducate ourselves. You cannot stop doing something, but you can start doing something else. It is akin to the metaphor used in the Bible when Jesus instructs that if you pull weeds from a plot of ground, but do not plant something else in their place, the weeds will return bigger and stronger than ever. We must plant new ideas, beliefs, and understandings that relate to love instead of fear. It is about training, not suppressing. Our animal nature rules until we rise to the higher energy of love. When confronted with difficulty, the Buddhist monk replies, “Good, this will allow me to practice.” He uses these moments to practice his techniques for centering – staying in his true self of love and compassion. We have the same possibility. Life is constantly offering opportunities to grow. Growth is not about burying your true nature of love while you meet the world with a glossed over personality displaying propriety but not compassion. It is about bringing forth the love you have inside and living from it. Our true nature is love. Love is of the soul. Anger is the animal self or ego. At any time we can choose love. This blog is an excerpt from my book: The Keys to the Kingdom: Techniques to achieve Self Mastery - books available on or