Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Seeing the Light in Others

Today is Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

For an entire day, practice seeing the light in all people, no matter how they behave.
–Sonia Choquette

What a challenge!  The world is full of people who are behaving badly, and – let's face it – you and I are among them at times.  It's one thing to know intellectually that we are all children of God, Children of the Light, but it's quite another thing to be able to acknowledge this in everyday life.  

Last April I wrote a blog post on the topic of grace. The quote I used for that post was, "Grace is the face love wears when it meets imperfection."  This is exactly the quality you and I will need to meet Sonia Choquette's challenge.  

We are all the recipients of divine grace in that we are all showered with God's unconditional love, regardless of who we are and how we are behaving at the moment.  The challenge for us is to extend that same unconditional love to others.  

What does this mean?  What does unconditional love look like?  Well, it doesn't mean that we have to condone the other person's actions.  It doesn't mean we have to agree with them.  It simply means that we don't allow ourselves to become judge and jury with respect to their actions.  If the other person is behaving badly, we know they will eventually run into some karmic backlash for it, whether or not they recognize the connection between the cause (their own actions) and the effect (a negative situation that they get into later.) We may wish we could save them from the negative consequences, but that would only be taking away their right to learn at their own pace, or it would simply delay the lesson for a little while.  

Of course, there's some compassion involved, as well.  We don't necessarily just want to stand by and let the other person suffer through the consequence unnecessarily.  There's a fine line between offering help and enabling people to do certain things over and over without learning from the consequences.  That calls for discernment on our part.  Our help can be offered but it should never be forced onto anyone. And if our help is accepted but then ignored, we must take the outcome in stride and simply leave the person to deal with his or her karma as they will.

This brings up another quality we will need: detachment, the ability to allow things to happen without taking them personally or feeling that we have to mount some kind of defense.  Detachment is a way of consciously disconnecting ourselves emotionally so that we don't react to what the person has done or said on the basis of our own fear or anger.  It doesn't mean that we don't have feelings.  It just means that we don't let our feelings dictate what we will do or say next.  If we take personally what others have said or done, we are as lacking in detachment as they are, and how does that make us any better?  Allowing ourselves to act in anger and fear is the vicious cycle that begets karma for all concerned.    

Putting it all together, then, in order to see the Light of God in everyone we encounter throughout the day, we will need to behave with grace, compassion, discernment and unconditional love.  This is a tall order, but we can do it.  Know why?  Because we are all Children of God.  :-)

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