Friday, April 26, 2013
Taking the High Road
The expression "take the high road" means to act in ways that are ethical, positive, and diplomatic. Most of us don't even think about this until we get into a situation where it's hard to do.
One thing that my spiritual training has introduced me to is the concept of a higher perspective. There are actually several different concepts that combine to give us a higher perspective on the people and situations in our lives. When we seek a higher perspective, it's easier to take the high road.
First of all, when I see myself as a Soul who is having a human experience, I am able to put a lot of things into perspective. I know that nothing in physical life is forever. This, too, shall pass. I know that I came here on purpose, in order to learn and serve. I know that everyone else is here for the same reason. We're all learning, and we all have free will to act and react as we see fit. There's no sense in trying to control other people. It's enough just to stay in control of myself. Everything is a learning opportunity, if I will only see it as such. There's a reason why we express respect and admiration for people who have risen above tragedy; we know at a deep level that these Souls are strong and resourceful, like a golfer who wins the game even with a big handicap.
I know that people react to things around us based on their beliefs, both conscious and subconscious, and that it's not so much what happens as how we interpret what happens and how we feel about what happens. In that sense, I know that when someone is angry, for example, it's their stuff, not mine. If I'm wrong, I can apologize, but I don't have to take a a guilt trip. I can exercise compassion when people react badly. Rarely do we know what is going on in their lives. Maybe they're going through a nasty divorce, or one of their kids has run away from home. Maybe a family member has just died, or they have incurred a financial loss. And maybe they are just not very spiritually mature yet. We regularly give children slack for their behavior, but we expect more from adults. But the fact is that not all Souls are at the same level of spiritual maturity in this lifetime. They're doing the best they can with what they know now. And we were there, too, at one time.
I know that I have subconscious fears and that certain people and situations trigger those fears. When I am aware that I am acting – or about to act – based on those fears, I can step back, regain control of my feelings, and choose to react in a more appropriate manner. Others react from their own subconscious fears, as well. Maybe they are reacting from some unconscious fear, such as the fear of abandonment. Maybe they are reacting to a situation in this lifetime that has triggered an unconscious memory of a negative event in a past lifetime. While it's not necessarily appropriate to analyze others' probable internal motivations, it is always a good thing to remember that all of us have subconscious triggers. When someone's reaction to the situation seems out of line or out of proportion, a subconscious trigger is often the culprit. It's not our business to bring it to light. All we have to do is be aware of it and avoid getting pulled into someone else's drama.
I know that I made agreements with some other Souls before I came here, and that some of these people agreed to "play the heavy" or act as mirrors in my life so that I could resolve some karmic issues from past lives or just learn to manifest a quality such as patience. There are no accidents; everything that happens in our lives is an opportunity for us to grow spiritually.
I know that detachment is a desirable quality that leads to spiritual maturity. I don't have to ignore my feelings. On the contrary, I need to acknowledge them. But I can exercise detachment so that my behavior is not driven by my emotions, especially negative emotions such as fear, worry, anger, jealousy, or grief. I know that exercising detachment sometimes requires that I simply walk away from a situation in order to regain control of myself and avoid escalating a situation or incurring more negative karma.
I know that the qualities of self-responsibility, humility, and discernment will stand me in good stead in my life and allow me to grow spiritually. None of these qualities is easy to manifest. It's so much easier to pin the blame on someone else rather than to admit that I had a hand in creating a negative situation. It's embarrassing, sometimes, to have to admit that I was wrong, or that someone else is more accomplished than I am. It's hard to make a distinction between what my ego wants to do and what I know is right. Sometimes I want to get revenge or have the last word, rather than walk away and let someone's negative behavior or attitude roll off my back, but then I realize that getting revenge or having the last word is likely to net me some negative karmic payback sometime in the future. It's not worth it.
Knowing all these things helps me take the high road when people push my buttons, when I find that I'm wrong, when authority figures make decisions that I disagree with, when I feel I've been wronged. I can stop, take some deep breaths, and let the feelings pass. Then I can take the high road. :-)