August 4, 2013

The Blessing of Difficult People. (It’s Not What You Think.)

As you begin healing family karma there are two kinds of people that you’ll meet: allies and adversaries.

There will always be people who cheer you on as well as those who challenge you. There will always be people who get what you’re up to and those whose minds are nailed shut. Both are inevitable and both are blessings. Huh?

It’s easy to love the allies. They’re clearly on your side. They cheer for you. They pitch in. They affirm your choices and direction. It’s harder to love the adversaries. Yet, both need to be embraced. Both need to be befriended.


Because allies and adversaries are mirrors. They each reveal different aspects of your soul.

Allies reveal those soul energies, inner qualities and perspectives that you’ve already embraced and integrated. Allies reflect and reinforce those energies. That’s why it feels good to be around allies. They amplify your connection to those aspects of yourself that you already appreciate, accept, and embrace. In the presence of allies, you feel affirmed.

Adversaries offer a different reflection.

They reveal those soul energies, inner qualities, and perspectives that you’ve yet to embrace and integrate. Adversaries reflect and reinforce the unresolved and unredeemed aspects of your soul. When they raise questions, cast doubt, and challenge your assumptions—you feel threatened, off-balance, on the defense.

Adversaries amplify the aspects of your soul that are under-appreciated, perhaps denied, and certainly un-integrated. In their presence, it’s easy to get defensive.

Defensiveness is a red flag. Defensiveness points to the places in you that are not fully integrated. Your own inner tensions are mirrored in the tensions that you experience in relation to your adversary. The key words here are that you experience.

The tensions are in your experience.

And it’s this experience that needs to be transformed if you’re going to engage with the inevitable adversaries wisely and skillfully.

(I’m not denying that there are people out there who object to your choices, disagree and even oppose what you do and stand for. I’m saying that encountering such people is inevitable. And that for you to encounter them skillfully, you need to attend to the tension-in-you that they reflect.)

The person-out-there is not your primary challenge.

The primary challenge is within you. Facing, embracing, and transforming the primary challenge establishes a foundation for working with the conditions around you creatively. But you can’t do this when you’re caught in defensiveness. Your capacity to perceive the inner challenges is obscured when you’re defensive.

Defensiveness turns your attention away from the primary challenge.

And focuses you on controlling, convincing, defeating, eliminating the external adversary. Which you may be able to do . . . temporarily. But doing this is just a distraction from the primary work.

Until you face and resolve the inner tension that the outer adversaries reflect—adversaries will keep appearing on your path.

Their purpose is to heighten your awareness and turn your attention to the un-integrated perspectives, qualities, and energies within you. Because as you integrate the un-redeemed dimensions of your own soul – you are able to more fully, powerfully, and playfully engage with the world.

The wonderful thing about your primary challenges is that they are in your experience.

They’re not out there. They’re in you. So you don’t need to be in a room with your adversary to do this primary work. You can do deeper, more effective and more transformational work when you focus only on your own experience.

Here’s how: Set aside 10 minutes of sacred uninterrupted time.

1) Settle your body in a comfortable meditative posture.

2) Call to mind one of your adversaries. Use their image as soul bait—to get call forth your inner tensions. Focus on their image, remember an event, replay their voice just enough to active an inner reaction.

3) Then shift your attention away from the story and into the body. Physically locate the source of defensiveness in your body. Gently, gently turn the light of loving awareness to that place in your body. Recognize that you’re approaching a point of vulnerability.

4) Use the breath as a medium for transmitting awareness and blessing. As you breathe in – feel the tensions and sensations at that place in the body.

5) As you breathe out send a gentle wave of appreciation, acceptance, and blessing to that place. Breathe in and be aware of the sensations.

6) Breathe out and radiate acceptance and blessing.

Remember that you’re not trying to change, reform, improve, or fix what’s there.

You’re simply connecting to it with awareness, acceptance, and loving kindness. These are the qualities that will, breath-by-breath, untangle the inner tensions.

In this process emotions may arise—let them. And infuse the emotions with acceptance, appreciation, and blessing. Greet whatever arises as a friend – and bathe it in blessing.

When you’re done, sit quietly for a moment. Then re-enter your daily life. As you work with your primary challenges and inner tensions, allies and adversaries still appear. This isn’t a magical formula for getting everyone to think like you.

It’s a method for recognizing and transforming your own defensiveness. Defensiveness isn’t something you need to control, suppress, or even get rid of.

Defensiveness is a call. It’s your soul waving a red flag and calling, “Over here, over here. Please bring your loving awareness over here.”

The energy, perspective, and creativity you need to move your life and dream forward is hidden underneath the defensiveness. You don’t have to figure out why you’re defensive. Just return to the body. Feel into the place where the vulnerability resides and infuse it with loving awareness.

The more you practice with infusing the vulnerable, un-integrated places in your body/mind with loving-kindness—the more your relationship with outer adversaries changes.

When you meet the inevitable challenging person on your path—you won’t meet them as an adversary.

You’ll recognize them as teachers. As people who, by blocking your path, are helping you to stop and discover the places within your own mind and heart that you were going to leave behind as you headed towards your dream. But your dream really needs all of you.

Allies remind you to celebrate those parts of you that you’ve already embraced. And adversaries remind you to widen the circle of your heart and expand the horizon of your vision to include those parts of you that are hidden in your most vulnerable places.

What do you think? Are adversaries mirrors? How do you transform your experience of adversaries?

Share your wisdom in the comments below.



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Ed: Bryonie Wise

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