When we accidentally trip, our natural instinct is to put our arms out and maybe lessen the damage of the fall to our important parts – head and belly. A broken arm is way better than a fractured skull.
This is a fine physical instinct but it seems to spill over into our emotional world as well. As soon as we fall emotionally we might get defensive. Or someone says something hurtful, we feel we need to defend our position. It seems like a great instinct too right?
I have a different opinion.
What if there was nothing about you that you needed to defend? What if the castle walls and mote were left open and you sought to learn from every intruder -not as the enemy but as a visitor, like the Rumi poem, “The Guest House”.
Are you playing defence your whole life and not getting anywhere? Well let’s try a little offence. Here’s how it rolls.
Next time, when something happens, or someone gives you some unsolicited advice, there will be the instinctual desire to defend what you did or said. Observe that sensation and see if you can actually try and see their point to view. At first you probably won’t catch until afterwards. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but keep working that muscle. It is a skill worth persuing.
When I have done this it has opened me to incredible empathy. I feel the full spectrum of all emotions within me. I understand murderous urges as much as saintly ones. I include and contain all possibilities.
Someone calls you selfish, stop and go, yeah, ‘I can see that I am in some ways”. This sort of ownership gives the ‘attacker’ no fuel or ammunition to add to the fight. There is no fight. There is no battle. Like a knife slicing through air , there is no purchase, nothing to cut at. Undefended and open to see all opinions. Every situation (previously a conflict) is an opportunity to know more about yourself. We all contain and at times express negative and positive qualities. This bothness is actually what makes life so damn rich.
I feel like my many hours of yoga and meditation practice have created a rich fertile ground for all seeds to sprout. Like an Aikido move I embrace the offering and see the merit in it. Rather than pushing it away and stamping my feet self righteously, I bring it closer and give it a little hug. “What do you have to teach me / show me about myself?”.
It takes an enormous amount of energy to hold the illusion of our perfect self in place for others to admire. Not only is this wildly freeing and a massive relief for yourself, it is for others too. “Oh you are human! Come closer then.” It opens you to deeper and more authentic connections with others.
Plus it liberates a lot of energy that can be used for other things. What will you do with all that extra energy?