by Robert Lee Camp
March 24th, 2015
Each of us has a strong desire to have the best life possible. It’s a natural human impulse. And we do the best we can, striving to improve our life situation, whether that be in the area of love, money, health or whatever. Sometimes that impulse leads us to the discovery of our own power to create, our power to make things happen in our lives, and this, in turn, causes us to examine ourselves more deeply, our own actions and words, and how they are reflected in the world we live in.
From one point of view, we can say that each of us lives in our own world, of our own creation. Everyone’s interpretation of external events will be different, generally based upon our past experiences and conditioning by our childhood, parents and society in general. We actually see through these rose-colored glasses, mostly colored by our past. And we seem somewhat helpless in this regard. If we had a particularly hard childhood in some regard, that will be reflected in our lives as adults, by automatic emotional reactions to certain stimuli.
From my own study, I can see that some of these automatic reactions were not even derived from childhood. Some must have come from past lives as it is apparent that they are real, but no known past source can be found. In either case, we are often bound by these reactions. They overtake us and we are caught up in them before we are even aware of it. In short, we had no choice.
So, here we are, each of us bound up by these reactions. And many of these reactions are negative in nature. They take the form of blame. This can be anger, complaining, judging, criticizing, fighting and other negative forms. Some of this is happening so much, nearly all the time, that we become completely unaware of it. It is considered perfectly normal, to let’s say, bitch and complain about traffic, the economy, crime, politics, and countless other manifestations we find in the world today. It is considered perfectly normal to call things and people names. Of course there are much more dramatic displays of negativity that we are all capable of too. And usually these show up in our personal relationships the most.
When we are in an intimate relationship, all the unhealed parts of ourselves are magnified greatly. And now there is this one person, our partner, to whom we feel can either make our day or destroy it. And in marriages and love affairs, we find the most dramatic negative reactions, which include control tactics, verbal and physical abuse and fighting on all levels. Those we love the most can also cause the greatest pain in us. They actually do not cause it, they just act in ways that catalyze the old reactions in us. Any of us can see, with just a casual inquiry, that we have patterns to our reactions. No matter how many relationships we are in, we seem to end up with the same negative reactions. “What is going on here?” I hear people saying. “Why do I keep attracting the same partner, over and over again? What is the universe trying to teach me?”
In all these cases our negative reactions amount to pointing at something outside of ourselves as being the cause of our suffering. We don’t see things clearly at all in most cases because we are not aware of what is really going on. We seem compelled to point the finger at others and at things around us.
My spiritual teacher, Alaya, has pointed out to me that when we point our finger at something or someone else, there are always 3 fingers pointing back at ourselves. And there is great wisdom in that. It is the truth, but a very difficult truth to actually realize.
Whenever we feel pain in our lives, our first reaction is to seek a cause, and this cause is nearly always outside of ourselves. Many people have become so used to this ‘looking for someone or something to blame’ that there is no awareness at all during the process. It is completely automatic. And even those who know, who have understood the process and see it happening, are often powerless to stop it.
Some issues are just so tender and painful that it is nearly impossible to stop the blame thing. All of this requires great awareness and patience and tenderness with ourselves in order to get a handle on . Very few people have an instant transformation. Most of us have to go through the painstaking process of a gradual awakening of consciousness. We encounter, in our lives, our resistance to things and people on a daily basis. Some seem small and insignificant and others seem drastic, like when our basic security is threatened by external forces. In truth they are all significant. The awareness of any of them leads us further towards the real truth and helps end our suffering.
To turn that pointing finger back at ourselves is probably the most difficult and spiritually most valuable thing we can do. To stop and allow ourselves to feel that pain that has arisen, and to feel it deeply, is truly a sacred thing. To enter into that pain and go to its heart, into our heart, is where the truth lives and where true change can occur. To point the finger simply creates the guarantee that this event which caused our reaction is going to happen again. It is like asking for a ‘re-do’.
Each of us has a unique life, in terms of what particular events trigger us. But all of us are the same when it comes to the condition of our lives and the way out of suffering. I have been experiencing some very deep pain lately. As I allow myself to feel it more deeply, seeds of wisdom make themselves known. I can see that these have been with me my entire life. They are not caused by things or people outside of me, but are truly mine to experience. And also, I see that I am the only one who can do what it takes to end my suffering. Whether these reactions came from my childhood or from my past lives is not really important.
What is important is that they arise now, in my life, for me to experience. And watching how desperately I want to blame someone else for my pain is also very educational. In the end, I have to accept that whatever is coming up for me is completely mine. It is the life that I have made, even though I made most of it unconsciously. At some point, I realize that live or die, with someone else or alone, this is the life for me, the one to truly be with.
Becoming aware of ourselves pointing and blaming is a big step. It ushers in a new level of awareness that often ushers in a new phase of life. And in terms of spiritual development, probably the most important thing anyone can do. Without it, we are stuck in a revolving door of repeating experiences and negative reactions. With it, we have new choices and can watch as a new life unfolds.