By Suma Varughese
When one can allow oneself and the Other the freedom to be, the problem with the Other disappears, says Suma Varughese
One of the primary problems that has engaged me for the length of my seeking life has been on how to have a right relationship with the Other. The spiritual awakening that catapulted me into the path had revealed to me that true happiness only arose when you focused on the happiness of the Other. But after the realisation left me, I was once again embroiled in my own egoic space and the Other was once again a distant entity with whom I had all sorts of difficulties. Recently, though, I had an experience that moved me one notch closer to my desired goal.
I had gone to a healer’s workshop. However, I found myself resisting the person strongly. I was unhappy with her presence, her insistence that we take notes, and the rather patriarchal energy she emanated. I deeply regretted having come there; for a while I could hardly make eye contact with her. Becoming increasingly uncomfortable, I asked myself if I could allow the person to be who she was, and if I could allow myself to feel what I felt? Bingo, immediately there was peace. My problem was that I was unable to accept my own resistance to the person. This made me defensive, create stories in my head, push them away from me mentally, and so on. When I found that I could simultaneously allow them to be themselves and me to be myself, the issue with the Other ceased to be. I found myself very comfortable for the rest of the workshop, and able to engage with the healer without having to compress the integrity of what I was actually feeling.
These are early days yet, but I have been trying this new learning in different situations and I find that it is freeing me of my stuff and allowing me to return to peace. The stories, the anxiety about not being okay, the conflict between me and the Other melt away. Giving validity to my inner state also enables me to experience them deeply, thereby enabling me to let them go. And in this space, the Other too quickly returns to his own centre for there is no longer any conflict he has to ward off. There is just tremendous space for him to feel, say and do what he wants to.
What is happening, I infer, is that there is now space between what the Other does and my reaction to it. The famous gap between response and reaction is finally opening for me. There is now a pause between what the Other has done or said, and my own feelings about it. Of course, I still react on occasion, but perhaps less often than I used to. For too long, my happiness and peace of mind was dependent on the goodness of others. If they acted in ways that did not work for me, if they said or did something to hurt my feelings, then I had no way to safeguard my peace. And how long can you expect others to take care of your feelings? Now I discern that I will finally be able to free others of this burden I placed on them, and allow them to be themselves. It seems to me that expectations will finally be laid to rest.
Perhaps soon I will sight my own personal Mecca, which is the capacity to completely crest my own ego and be there fully for the Other.
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