How many negative encounters have you experienced this week? Whether it’s a small argument with a sales representative or a waiter not getting you what you want – surely you’ve had one at least once a week. These encounters can be more than just a result of hot headedness; as we’ve learned from Gabrielle at MindBodyGreen they may actually be teaching you something about yourself. These encounters can be a reflection of what you don’t like about yourself – here’s why:
Sometimes our most negative encounters can offer us great spiritual guidance. For instance, I once had a blow-out fight with a woman at a car rental counter. For whatever reason she felt the need to flaunt her power and go out of her way to make things difficult for me. And my reaction wasn’t so cute. I felt the need to respond with my own power play by threatening to call her manager and make a complaint.
So I did just that.
Hours after stating my claim to her corporate office and regional manager, I felt no better. I thought that complaining about how poorly I was treated would help me get over the experience. Oddly, it made me feel worse — even empty inside. I sat with my feelings and explored what the lesson was for me in this situation.
In the stillness I heard my inner voice recite one of Yogi Bhajan’s five sutras for the Aquarian age: “Recognize the other person is you.” I was pretty floored by my inner guide — the message was so clear and resonant.
I went on to explore what it was about this angry customer service rep that triggered me. I came to realize that her behavior was merely mirroring a disowned part of my own shadow. In silent contemplation I was able to accept that deep down there was a part of me that wanted to control the situation and the outcome. This was the same quality the customer-service representative had. Her deep-rooted need to be in control came head-to-head with my need to be in control — and all hell broke loose.
The moment I realized that her pain and suffering was mine too, was the instant that compassion set in. I felt a deep sense of love and connection to this woman whom I was fighting with just hours ago. I felt compassion for her sadness, her powerlessness and her need to be in control. I then turned the compassion in toward myself. I honored the dark places within me that still felt the same need to control, exercise power and release unfelt pain.
The key point in this message is that even complete strangers can offer us opportunities to look more closely at the shadow sides of ourselves that we want to keep hidden. A Course in Miracles teaches, “The hidden can terrify not for what it is, but for its hiddenness.” The issue isn’t what we’re hiding, it’s that we’re unwilling to expose it to the light and deal with it. The miracle moments that become the witness of our ego’s shadow are the moments when we can truly surrender. Let people be a mirror to reflect back to you what you need to address in yourself.
Were you able to relate to that? If you want to hear more from Gabrielle’s encounter and realization – head over to MindBodyGreen to read the complete article.
Image source: Robert McGoldrick