A few months ago, I read a book by Mr. Howard, who I understand was a teacher of yours. It mostly discussed the darker side of human interaction. Although I am very knowledgeable of these topics for some reason, I realized a whole another lever that disturbed me -- that of my so-called friends and family.
More and more I see some very dark and selfish traits, and some that may even despise me even though I have been the least troublesome. This hurts beyond words. Could you please share a word of insight to this experience? (From student correspondence)
First let me assure you that all you are seeing -- and going through -- with regards to your discoveries about just how dark runs human nature is not only a natural development for those longing to know God's life as their own, but it is a prerequisite. All is well, of that you may be certain; however, fasten your seatbelt!
It matters very little, in one respect, what I say to you here -- because if you will persist with your wish to live in the Light -- there will be no darkness kept from your view. Again these discoveries are natural and necessary along the path of self-realization; but here's the main thing to understand as you go through making these same discoveries and being transformed through and by them.
If you never read or heard the story of the "Ugly Duckling," let me suggest that you Google it now -- so you can better understand what I am about to explain to you. Briefly this old, old teaching story is about a baby swan that fell in with a group of ducks and was raised by them as a duck. But at some point this fledgling Swan grew weary of all of their "quackery" and felt alone and out of place. Then, came that fine day came when it saw it's own reflection in a still pond, and realized -- to its great relief -- that it wasn't a duck at all. It had innate grace, a beauty and goodness unlike those it had formerly taken to be its "own." Soon, the swan found its own kind, and lived "happily ever after."
Just because someone looks like a human being, does not mean that individual is actually the same kind of human being that you are. I am not referring here to race, color, or ethnicity. But I am alluding to the observable fact that human beings are divided into many "orders" of being, and further that many of these groups are without conscience. They literally lack the ability to develop anything other than heightened "skills" in deception and other heinous acts of darkness. For many, many years -- possibly for a lifetime -- a man or woman with true spiritual possibilities for awakening to the interior kingdoms within themselves -- may live amongst (even "marry!") these beings. However, by an action and a grace not created by themselves, the day comes when suddenly they begin to "see" that there is an inexplicable and often indescribable difference between what their heart longs for -- as well as what they are incapable of doing and being -- as opposed to those they see around them doing and being what they cannot (do and be).
Incidentally, one of the ways this difference is hidden from us for those many years is by our judgment of these same people. Never forget that darkness, weakness, always pounces upon darkness and weakness, so as to hide itself from itself. Fortunately, (for us) the day comes when blaming others simply stops working; we can no longer convince ourselves that our contempt for certain people means that we are actually different than they are. At this point we make one of the greatest spiritual discoveries possible: we see that those who trouble us, who conspire against us, can't do otherwise. We know this because, when we first start working to change our relationship with them -- and with ourselves -- change for us seems equally impossible. But, here's where that beautiful axiom "know the truth and the truth will set you free" comes into play.
As we see the truth of our human situation, we begin to fall out of love with what we once took to be the only possibility with regards to "human" relationships, purposes, response to challenge and pain...the whole gamut. For one thing, we no longer fear those around us (with whom we live and work, etc). We no longer want anything from them because we've seen their inner poverty; there is no judgment in this observation because we have seen our own as a result of our relationship with these same individuals.
The path to freedom is the path of absolute negation. We are given the keys to the kingdom only as we are empowered to release our attachments to this world. And "seeing" what is true (and what is not) is the Way. Persist!