Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Physician, heal thyself

This is going to sound silly. It does to me, anyway.
It sounds silly because I think it overstates the obvious, yet the fact that it's obvious makes it no less a source of wonder to me.
Lately, I see the line between myself and other people growing increasingly blurry.
I notice more and more how identical to others I am, in good ways and bad. It goes beyond mere similarity most of the time.
There's this woman I know who I can't stand because I think she's arrogant. Haughty. Sanctimonious. But lately, as I look at her and silently make this evaluation to myself, I see the same traits in me. And I also see the same self-doubt manifested in my actions that I notice in hers.
I see how people react to stress, and as I mentally take them to task for losing their cool, I'm reminded of my own frequent inability to deal with difficulties in constructive ways.
I criticize someone for craving attention, and remember my own ego and its quest for praise.
I harbor resentment against a friend for pointing out my faults. Then I recall the many times I've done the same to others, and how hurt I felt when they harbored resentment against me.
But this mirror also reflects positive images.
In karate class, I see someone execute a technique effortlessly and with fluidity and say to myself, "I think I can do that, if not now, then eventually."
My best friend told me a long time ago that if we see something we admire in others, it's only because we see that same potential in ourselves.
Lately, I've also seen the other side of that coin, that if I see something in others I don't like, I often need only look just under the surface to see that same weed growing in my own garden.
Yes, I think I'm overstating the obvious. I suppose it's like marveling that water is wet.
But I marvel just the same.


Kitty said...

I've been around water my whole life and "knew" that water is wet, and yet now to experience that in a whole new way is delightful. To use your analogy from the comment you left at my blog, the moon was always there. I just didn't see it, and it took something pretty dramatic to reveal it to me. And I still don't know if I see it fully. I see it as I am now. (The moon is a mirror, after all :)).

This "mirror" business works in so many ways, from the subtle to the obvious. I've always felt the lines between myself and others being blurry (the "mystic" part of myself, I guess) but had a lot of self-protective stuff going on with it, carried a lot of "tightness"(tightening up against what I was feeling, against the experience of being in a body, of having to deal with other people, maybe of just being human.) It's a weird thing to feel so connected to everyone else and yet so isolated at the same time.

Somehow something's shifted for me. I can more easily see the mirror in others, without triggering the resistance and the fear and the need to control. Mostly just really easing up on myself. We're all imperfect beings, and wonder of wonder, that includes me. Realizing that opens up all sorts of possibilities.

reallynotimportant said...

It looks like your practice is making progress. It just gets more interesting from here in ;-)

anu said...

You know Michael? When i read posts that really touch me or when i seem to be absorbing every word in great detail, relishing it and going "mmmm...yes yes yes"...becoz i can relate to what is being said,

i have a lovely feeling of 'joy' and 'calmness' after i read. I feel like i have understood something. Like a tiny realisation.

Right now i feel all this when i read your posts. But when it comes to commenting, i cannot find any words. I have found myself sitting here and thinking "oh, now what?"

I am so blank.

Maybe i am still in your garden..looking at the fruits and trees. Maybe i am happy being a silent observer...becoz there is so much to absorb every moment.

I dont want to force myself to come out of it and mechanically say something, just becoz i have to comment something. But at the same time i want to convey my feelings about it..without it i feel something is incomplete.

You know what i mean Michael?

Michael said...

Hi Kitty,
Beautifully stated! I think part of my process of cleaning the dust from the mirror involves cutting myself -- and, as a result, cutting others -- a break, and vice versa.

Good to hear from you! I'm just hanging on for dear life. This ride takes some wild hairpin turns!

Hi Anu,
I know *precisely* what you mean. Whenever I read something that resonates within me, I want to acknowledge that somehow, and I can't always do so. Words sometimes are so useless.

mrsbeach said...

Hello Michael,

Your post touched my heart, and made me take a second glance in that mirror.
I have a garden, when I am stressed or angry I pull weeds. When I am sitting in my swing and sipping tea,
what a lovely garend I see!

You take care

Michael said...

Hey Beachy,

Yes, weed-pulling is something I need to do more of!
Thanks, Beachy, and I hope all continues not just well but GREAT for you and yours.

mrsbeach said...

How nice you were not to scold me for the "garend".

Michael said...

Hey Beachy,

I've made too many editing errors of my own to take anyone to task for theirs!
As they say, it's the thought that counts.