I have just completed the first Self Mastery course but am troubled by something. I agree with all you say and can see the validity of implementing each of your suggestions. However, a couple of sessions led me to conclude that conversations with people are a waste of time as so much what is said is not true. The ‘finding neutral’ session troubles me nearly as much as it helps me. It seems I am supposed to basically brush off everyone’s opinions as their view only and not necessarily the truth.
Then the webpage titled, ‘understanding relationships and the source of emotional drama’ suggests that even our view of ourselves and others and other people’s view of us and themselves may also be false. So if people are telling me stuff about themself or me I’m supposed to tune out to it as there may be no truth to it. But that leaves me feeling disconnected. How can I connect with people if I assume that what they have to say should be disregarded? Part of the joy of life is discovering that you have something in common with someone. But if that common element is an illusion they have about themself then it is a waste of time engaging in conversation with them in the first place.
The session on forgiveness was particularly challenging for me. Again I see the validity in the mantra of forgiving myself and the other person for all our errors in thinking but I’m left wondering that if I’m not supposed to expect the person to be a certain type of person for me then I leave myself open to expecting the worst of them and either running in fear or being hurt by them over and over again because I never learn. If I cannot expect Joe to behave in a decent manner towards me I am rubber stamping his bad behavior. I am saying, in effect, “Joe, do your worst to me because I no longer expect people to be the type of person I’d like them to be.” And if I don’t react in that way then I’d probably avoid Joe because I know he’s going to hurt me.
Both these issues lead me to think the only way to cope with life is to withdraw entirely from all contact with people. I’m sure that is not what you are advocating but I’m not sure where my thinking went wrong.
You ask good questions. Good insights but as you figured,,, needing some clarifications as some misinterpretations have snuck in.
The old way of connecting with people is through believing the same opinions, or believing that if you have a similar history, background, experience, language etc, then you are alike, and therefore connected. In this way you end up distancing or feeling disconnected whenever you perceive differences between you and another person. So your solution path to connection can just as well send you into the direction of feeling disconnected. Having different beliefs means that you will feel disconnected from someone even though you are still both human beings standing next to each other in the same part of the universe at the same point in time.
Isn’t being a human being enough to have in common with people to begin creating a connection? And if it is, then don’t we open the door to feeling connected to everyone instead of just some people that have similar opinions and beliefs? This approach is a much greater opportunity for connection.
Then how do we connect if it is not by similar stories or opinions….? Love. What is love? It’s an emotion,,, a feeling. What is the state of “connection” is a feeling as well. What we are essentially seeking in our search for connection is a feeling. And there is no more enjoyable way to connect than through love. You can connect with someone physically by making love, or you can connect with someone in that feeling of presence with them. You can say all the words you want, and have all kinds of common history, but that isn’t as enjoyable as the feeling. Besides, the common history and beliefs is just a way to feel trust, respect, acceptance, appreciated, and loved.
I direct you towards the exercises in the Advanced Series about developing emotions of love and expressing them towards the people around us. What ends up connecting us is the feeling. So why not create the feeling directly, instead of through an indirect means of common history, and opinion.
This new way is more challenging, and will take some practice, but the result is that you will be able to create the feeling of connection at will instead of trying to find a person with a story that fits your story.
And about the article on Understanding Emotional Drama in Relationships.
That article is about the source structure of how we create emotional drama and essentially “disconnection” in relationship. At the end, I point out that this type of relationship isn’t genuine or authentic. I also point out that it isn’t the only possibility for relationships. It’s really one to avoid.
About the Forgiveness Issue:
Forgiveness is very much about detaching from what we believe other people should have been, including our self. However it doesn’t have to mean changing our expectations about what people will be in the future. We can still expect the best. It’s just when that doesn’t happen, we can detach right away.
And I don’t think that I associate forgiving someone with continuing to let them abuse or disrespect us. We have very right to place a boundary and avoid interaction with those that would mistreat us. I like the idea of turning the other cheek. But I don’t think we should let it continue to hang out there. I think we should turn not only our cheek, but our whole body far enough out of their way so that we don’t allow our self to be hurt anymore.
Although if we don’t expect the best of people for the future, we drop that also, it doesn’t mean that we have to expect the worst either. It is interesting that this is the only alternative that you propose. It is also one that appears based in fear and a victim point of view that is afraid of being hurt. I suggest taking an inventory of what your mind is projecting as the alternative here and noticing what kinds of emotions it creates. It might be an interesting point of discovery.
I think that your conclusion to “withdraw entirely from all contact with people” stems from this fear of getting hurt victim (to the impending doom of the assumed future) point of view.
Really good questions. I know you are not the only one to come up with these conclusions. That’s because,,, yes,,, the world is full of liars,,, and people with lots of useless opinions. But that’s no reason not to love them and enjoy your life doing so. And this is far more enjoyable than believing that what they say is the truth and having emotional reactions and disappointments when you find out it is not.
Hope that helps. And if you find that some of my material doesn’t, then put it aside. Just use what works and helps you and keep seeking clarifications on the rest.