Sunday, March 8, 2015
The Toxicity of Gossip: A Heavy and Dark Path From Which to Learn
We don’t think about it very much but perhaps we should. Engaging in or propagating gossip is toxic for both the bearer of it and the receiver. I hear gossip constantly and while I understand it deeply at a psychological level, I have to tell you that there is something within me that sinks and cringes whenever I hear it. Now, having said that, I think there is a difference between momentarily venting when you’ve missed those Nano seconds to seek true understanding and have taken something into self and engaging in something wholly unhealthy due to pure psychology. The Oz Principle, by Roger Conners talks about giving yourselves a moment to vent below the line, realize you are just venting and then bring yourself back above the line. With Senn-Delaney (the culture shaping firm) concepts, which I also love, they acknowledge that as humans we react at a certain level in the negative when under stress but can bring ourselves back up to a level of curious which is neutral.
I wish more of the populace had exposure to these principles and guides so they would better understand why we operate the way we do. I have to admit that I love these two specific sources of understanding that I’ve mentioned. I also have to say that we can go deeper with our understanding by just cutting straight to the heart of a few things about life:
1. No matter what we go through, we are going to experience something only from our ego’s very limited perspective. That limited perspective is formed by our environmental psychology and its resulting conditioning.
2. The ego seeks to protect itself first and foremost so will deny it’s part in any wrong doing, make assumptions and seek revenge if it feels in any way threatened by its conditioning even if passive-aggressively.
3. The level to which you are affected by or engage in any of these things depends upon your own personal growth and development. Everyone operates at a different level, please understand.
4. We seek these experiences on purpose to learn from and hopefully some day, transcend.
At some point when we tire of the toxic engagement and stop doing the same things we’ve always done just to receive the same result, we may seek understanding instead. Once you understand that your perspectives and assumptions are not truth, you’ve just lost half of anything there is to gossip about or become ensnared with. When you reach for understanding and take the next step, setting boundaries for your own level of engagement, you realize you neither have to engage in the toxicity of gossip or take it in to you (as Mooji might say) when someone brings it to you.
Please understand, that gossip, assumption from skewed perception, victimizing thoughts and revenge all come from a wounded space of the armor that is our own egos as well as the ego's conditioning. Just understand that and realize you don’t have to do anything about it. The ego judges its safety and security by the level at which everyone else is perceived to reside within. The ego does not, however, perceive the truth. Thankfully within you there is the alternate experiencer who bears witness to all you see, hear, feel and engage in and seems quite separate, the observer (as Eckart Tolle and many other luminaries write about). From that watcher or observer, if you will, stems true feeling once you learn to tune in and listen to it. Your own inner voice is no voice at all…but is rather a very wonderful inner guide in the form of feelings (sometimes physical ones if need be) that exists as part of your being.
The next time you engage in gossip or receive it, I want you to pay very close attention to your solar plexus area or your heart area…does it feel a bit tight? Does it feel like it’s sinking? Does it feel like there is something not quite right like fear, dread, anxiety, or even a faster heart beat? Provided you do not suffer some form of sociopathic tendencies, you’ll notice that feeling and that feeling is a message. That message is trying to tell you something – that something is either to stop blaming, victimizing, comparing, contrasting or trying to make yourself better at the expense of someone else you have most likely inaccurately perceived, or you are sensing what someone else is bringing you is just truly toxic and no good for you.
I dislike gossip. I do not like how it feels. I am a human being also and if I miss that Nano second to grab understanding instead of the ego’s perception, I’m going to need to vent my emotion just like the next person. The only difference is that I find even as I begin to speak, my own body starts to tell me I’m wrong. It starts to tell me through feeling that I’m not seeing the whole picture and so what I have judged may be inaccurate and that I may be missing an opportunity to get calm and centered and seek truth through real understanding rather than assuming my own assumptions are facts. What I begin to understand is that my emotion is based on an illusion and so, may not be necessary. That emotion must be understood better before acted upon. Emotion based on assumption cannot be fact until validated. Assumption, if left unchecked forms belief. Belief engages egoic emotion. Before long this process leaves you with a mess of anxiety, anger and hurt feelings. Understanding that belief is untested hypothesis, assumption is only deduction from information without the facts validated and that you can free yourself from generating or taking in toxicity is one of the key modes of self-actualization. When we face these egoic emotions, the better cause of valor is to stop all action and go for a walk, breathe in and breathe out – repeat until the egoic emotion stops and we recenter ourselves in normal reality whatever that is for each of us. Then, with a calm and cool head, go validate the facts and respond accordingly with a compassion for self and understanding for others (this does not mean be a doormat - this means seek the truth and respond in a healthy way for you and others).
So, we are human in form at the moment. We seek out interactions from which to learn. We grow when we understand the life lesson presented over and over again. Gossip is an opportunity to learn. You can hear it and not let it in. You can stop yourself from engaging in it by being accountable and honest with yourself about assumption and perception. If you can do this, you can learn to operate from a healthy space of compassion. This is an optimal state from which to learn and live positively in a way that helps you create and learn differently. It takes change to learn and grow. Why not shift your own perspectives into a higher gear and steer clear of the one thing that will drag you down like cement shoes? One more thought I’ll leave you with, if you, like me – tend to be the receiver of gossip, instead of taking it in, ask questions about the assumptions others are making. The payoff of gossip is not worth anything the ego might think it will gain. Just food for thought.
Blessings of higher love, compassion, healing and understanding beautiful dreamers!
© 2015 Jaie Hart