I Remember Now ~ On Changing Others and Ourselves ~ Pastor Tim Tengblad Post 40
A reader sent me this question:
What do we do in a world that seems to promote greed and hurtful behavior? … If a person’s soul is going along it’s own path young or old, I have no control over that. How can I help make our world be a kinder, more inclusive place for all. I know I am judgmental toward people who look at things differently and sling out hateful rhetoric…I am a work in progress.
Oh how I relate to what you’re saying here.
On the plus side, your wanting to make our world a kinder, more inclusive place for all is wonderful. The thing to remember and celebrate here is that your desire for a kinder, more inclusive world comes from the divinity within you. Your True Self. Sometimes we wonder where God is in our world, or if God really abides in us. Well, there it is! It’s so important that we remind ourselves of this over and over again, and affirm it when we see it in someone else.
On the other hand, our wanting to control others is a sure sign of both our ego at work, and that we haven’t been doing some kind of inner work that is calling out to us to be done.
Whenever I am overwhelmed with this desire to fix or control others, I realize I haven’t been doing my inner work. I cannot accept others as they are because there is something(s) inside of me that I am not accepting. I then project that onto others.
The people I want to change or control are holding a mirror up to me, and I’m not liking what I’m seeing. They are pushing my buttons. Acting as a trigger. I think it’s him or her that’s bugging me, when in fact it’s me I’m having a problem with. “Why is he or she bugging me so much?” is a great question.
It’s my experience that the problems I have with other people and what they do or say, all seem to lead back to me! They point to something I need to look at or work on in myself. They may have said or done something that is truly horrible, but the reasons it bothers me so much point back to me.
Does the following ring true for you? If I am living from a place of acceptance of myself as I truly am as a human, I have less need to control others. What wants to bother me about others, I see in myself. I am, as you say here, “a work in progress.”
And we tend to think of being a work in progress in negative terms, with a measure of disappointment added in. We can easily think that it’s a “bad” thing to be a work in progress. Or that I shouldn’t be a work in progress. I should be doing better than I am, or even that I should be beyond that by now.
But that’s the human journey! That’s precisely what your soul signed up for when it wanted to reincarnate.
I love what Jesus talks about in “Cycles Of The Soul”, the wisdom of Jesus channeled through Gina Lake. When our soul is on the other side, it is more aware of it’s divinity. It knows it is eternal and a certain bravery is known. It takes on challenges (often hard ones), because it knows that nothing can truly harm it or end it’s life. So why not challenge yourself? It just wants to experience and learn. It doesn’t see things in terms of “good” or “bad.” Just experience and hopefully learn and grow. Rinse and repeat.
So the way we go about our inner work, is to be kind and compassionate to ourselves in all things we experience. To welcome ALL OF US AND ALL WE EXPERIENCE HERE. Take it all in, accept it (every feeling and thought), and listen to it tell you where it’s coming from, why it’s there, and what there may be to learn from it. That’s all it’s there for. It represents no failure or “bad” on your part. It just is. And is intended to come, make a visit, and move on for the next experience.
Such kindness towards ourselves and acceptance of what is within ourselves can go a long way to treating others with the same amazing grace. They’re on their own journey here too. “We’re all here working on something” as Wes Hamilton says.
I share with you 3 quotes that I find helpful in this regard:
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. Rumi
You’re no doubt aware of the Serenity Prayer of AA: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Here’s a revision of the Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.
Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, “Friend, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. Luke 6: 41,42 ***note to self: love is the great log remover. First love for myself, (welcome the log and see what insight it can build for you,) then love the one I’m judging. OK. Got it.
When we focus on “changing” ourselves, it is crucial to remember that the road to change has a paradoxical start to it. It begins with acceptance. Acceptance of the very thing we want to change. It begins with acceptance of ALL of ourselves. Laying down our fighting with what we don’t want to see, and just receive from it.
In this sense, there is really nothing to “change” through effort of our own. What we are struggling to accept within ourselves will teach us on it‘s own during it’s visit with us. And what we learn will naturally lead us to our True Self which is already there. A Self who’s natural habitat and vibration is of love, peace, acceptance, forgiveness, etc.
This is living from a different energy that will last, as opposed to anything we try and accomplish merely through our own will power. We all know will power comes and goes. It ebbs and flows, depending on if we have the energy and desire to push it. But the wisdom of our True Self is constant, and it’s energy is inexhaustible.
While you are a human, your humanity and your True Self are a team working together for your Highest Good: the remembering and realization of your Divine nature.
You Are Love (and human).
Pastor Tim Tengblad
email@example.com I welcome ALL your comments, questions, and stories.