Friday, August 29, 2008

Revenge is Not Sweet

Someone takes something that belonged to us. Someone cuts us off on the freeway. The checker was rude to us in the grocery store check out. The server in the restaurant was rude. Someone called us a name. Someone yelled at us and we don't understand why. These things occur throughout our existence day in and day out. It can wound our egos, our pride and cause us to have feelings that "it is not right what was just done to us and we must do something." Then we sometimes move into another stage, revenge. We have the negative energy of being wounded and we need to strike back to save face, to get even, "eye-for-an-eye" sort of thing. I can't remember the exact part of the Christian bible that makes the statement but I remember reading a statement to the effect of the Lord saying, "vengance is mine."

I'm not a Christian...I'm rather a student of all things good, compassionate and loving in all religious faiths but this statement echoed in my mind after several of these events occurred in my life. I thought about what I was feeling and what the words in my mind were telling me. I wanted to get even. I was hurt and wanted to engage in tit-for-tat but I didn't. When I quieted myself a little longer and asked the voice inside what "vengance is mine" really meant, I received additional words.

1. A thief will steal because he is lacking> Let go of the material possession, it's not as important as the state of your soul. I thought about that for a moment...I then felt, as long as the item stolen was sold to fulfill a need for someone else I could let it go. Now, well meaning friends said the money probably went for drugs. Since I had decided to let go and file a report with my insurance company, it really didn't matter to me. Things are only things and to expend more negative energy trying to get even when I already felt horrible just seemed insane to me. I pulled back my energy and focused on healing my sense of loss for the item stolen. The little voice inside my head said that the soul of the thief would receive his judgment and there was nothing I could do to bring that about sooner or increase it's effect ...any attempt would be wasted energy on my part.

2. People will demonstrate all manner of unkindness for all manner of reasons. To judge someone by your own common decency, common courtesy or morals is not really unfair. First, these terms are defined differently in all parts of the world...the fact that you can sit and type on a wireless computer in a house full of TVs, electronics and clothing would be beyond common decency and morals in other places. That fact does not make them wrong or you wrong. Another aspect of this within those that do share common definitions of common courtesy and morals is that these things are often put by the wayside when souls are in pain. Maybe the guy who cut you off on the freeway was rushing to be by his child's hospital bedside? Maybe the checker in the grocery store just lost her husband and knows her income will not be enough to support her and her child, maybe the server in the restaurant just got stiffed on tips and now she knows she cannot pay the rent. Don't treat these events as personal slights, do not act on assumptions that have not been source validated as truth and if you cannot validate the truth of a seeming slight, assume instead positive intent, show compassion and the slight you felt will be replaced by loving energy. If you engage in "get even" behavior by chasing the man on the freeway down, reporting the rude checker or the server, you are adding more insult to their existing lacking or draining energy. It takes you more energy to get even than to simply focus your energy on healing yourself.

3. The insult - yes, this one is most challenging because this one is the most difficult for us to not take personally. If someone told you the sky is green, does that make the sky green? If you were color blind and someone said the sky is green but you were always taught the sky is blue, would the statement cause you to react differently? Let's try another example, if someone called you a horrible ugly monster but you knew you were a beautiful person inside and out, wouldn't you see the comment for what it is? Would you have to hurl comments back to get even although you know the statements made were untrue? Behind the scenes, people insult us to take our energy because they are lacking. If you fight to get the energy back in a negative way, you just lose more precious energy and cause the person hurtling the insult more pain than they were in to begin with. As a positive and loving person you can generate all the positive energy you need...just withdraw, heal yourself from the insult and you will have restored your energy without engaging in a war of words with another person who is in pain. See the insults at their source. Perhaps the other person is wounded and fearful or jealous because they don't understand the true source of your happiness and they need to bring you down. Adding insult to injury here may be unkind. In some situations we have to be the "bigger person" even when we don't feel like we can. It doesn't make you a coward...your ego may feel bruised but if you are not the insulting thing you've been called, your ego should not be bruised anyway. Now, if the insult has a shred of truth, it will hurt. Instead of hurtling insults back, think about what you can do to heal that part of you that was vulnerable to verbal insult. Heal that instead of going after the person who insulted you.

All of these things flooded into my mind when each of the above occurrences happened in my life. Right after I heard these words and started to own them, I received confirmation again in the form of bulletins on Myspace, books that I have read and confirmation both positive and negative in the actions of others behind me.

I've noticed the difference in how my energy feels when I do not react, when I do react and when I seek to get revenge. Revenge is not sweet, not even a little. It is toxic and dark, thick and murky energy-wise. I don't do that any more. I will speak my words well thought out so as not to cause more harm to an individual who seems to have slighted me. If I have to, I will hold my tongue and go for a mindful walk and come back and talk later when I can speak from my soul instead of my ego. I will go out of my way to show kindness to those who seem rude to me (heck, they probably need a smile and some gentle-energy if they're walking around being rude to people). I don't take a stance of non-reaction as my actions being more like a spiritual doormat. I'm not that either because I do act authentically and align my energy with my best efforts to heal a potentially volatile situation instead of fueling the volatility.

Another note, there is a big difference between getting even for bad behavior and calling people on their bad behavior and you can call someone on bad behavior without instigating a war. It starts with saying something like "when you said this, it made me feel...fill in the blank." It's not hard it just takes quelling our natural tendency towards self preservation in action that maybe doesn't match the situation, thinking a little more clearly but not from a place of ego and then gently providing facts about what you feel or what you are concerned about.

For those who know these words already, pass them on today to someone who may benefit. For those who've never thought of these concepts, think about it for a time today. You do not have to own or act on any of it. Each day we are presented with opportunities to see things from a new perspective. Each day we're given a new chapter to read in the book of life. Enjoy.

Be well and be happy!

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