During a recent online chat event I asked you how I can stop getting bad bosses. You told me, "birds of a feather flock together." My boss is a stingy, heartless @#!%*!. I have given employees money out of my own pocket to pay for the bounced check fees that my boss has incurred, along with other ways of trying to protect them from him. I am not stingy and I treat them with kindness and respect. You do not know me, but you decide that I am like my boss. (Student correspondence, 1/25/06)
It is not my habit to answer angry email; but since I knew last night you would send this note in response to my message to you during the chat -- here is the full reply I couldn't send given the constraints of time. And, as I am taking the time to send a personal reply, please read it several times, even though your initial response may be to discount my comments.
Your anger at me is because of your certainty that you have been misunderstood . . . But, let's see. Do you really want to spend your life feeling as though there's something wrong with those who challenge the images you hold of yourself? Wouldn't such a mindset be a recipe for everlasting resentment? I think you want something better, brighter than that.
In each of us there lives a certain nature that dwells -- unrealized -- in the dark of self. It is not who we really are, but its life, its socially conditioned wants -- and the fears that come with having become attached to these wants -- have become virtually one and the same as our life. In other words, as we are now, we meet life from this sleeping self -- so, our experiences of life -- wherever we are -- are the stressful effect of this unconscious nature and its limited perceptions.
When I said to you, birds of a feather flock together, what this means is that THIS false nature will pretty much always find itself around those who trouble it -- (regardless of where it takes itself) -- because its (unseen) nature is to resonate with the sounds of misery.
This nature is not who you really are, but when we identify with its vibrations -- as is our present mechanical habit to do -- then we feel all these unwanted feelings and blame what is vibrating through us on those around us. Are these people toxic, problematic? Most likely that's the case because they have wrongly surrendered to the same mistaken sense of self for so long they can no longer tell the difference. The darkness of their own unenlightened self has become the "light" by which they see the darkness in others!
We can -- and must (if we would find real happiness) -- do better than this.
When we begin to see that negative states in others sets off negativity in us, and that this reaction in ourselves is not who we are in reality (but only a kind of weird psychic echo that must be allowed to play itself out within us) then we are ready to see a great truth that sets us free: if we will be still and not resist these sounds of suffering in us then, of themselves, they -- and the level of self that creates them in us -- will fade back into the native darkness from which it came! Then . . . for our willingness to let the Light do its work in us, our nature is changed. We rise above that low level self whose limitations we took to be our own, because we have consciously let it go. And it is this New Nature born in us that not only attracts higher, happier relationships to it, but that also knows -- unfailingly -- how to use all dark, negative states -- in others (and in ourselves), to realize a world (within ourselves) where darkness can not dwell.
Persist with your wish to be free.