I was reading Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" just now and a thought struck me so profoundly that I was compelled to put the book down and write this blog post.
"When you are no longer totally identified with forms, consciousness -- who you are -- becomes freed from its imprisonment in form. This freedom is the arising of inner space. It comes as a stillness, a subtle peace deep within you." (p. 226)
That was exactly what I was reading when the following thought popped into my mind:
The people you don't like or have a difficult time accepting are the very ones who are here to make you a better person.
Not quite sure how the Tolle passage and my thought are related, but they seem to be somehow.
But anyway, I've been struggling lately with this one particular individual. This person has the unique ability to get to me like no one else. I have thought many times, if I never see or hear of this person again in my entire life, that would be wonderful!
But at the same time I know this person is in my life for a reason. A purpose. Even though I would say I don't particularly like this person. Even though I feel this person causes me way more stress and anxiety than anything or anyone else. Even so...this person is most definitely in my life for me. A gift from the Universe, nonetheless.
So how would someone who ignites such stress and unpleasant feelings make me a better person?
By teaching me patience. Acceptance. Understanding of those different from me. A reminder that life is a symphony and everyone has a part to play. Even the person playing the triangle.
When the thought popped into my mind, I was awash in a sudden sense of peace. And as I type this, I feel even more overcome by that peace.
I know full well that I've been causing my own suffering by focusing so intently on how much I dislike this person and how much I wish they were not in my life. Yet, even though I know that... I still did it. I still got pulled into that ego black hole. Where I have resided for the past couple of days (most recently).
My mind searched for ways to get this person out of my life. My thoughts went round and round about why is this person in my life? Why are they doing this to me? As if it was all about me in the first place.
I can look back at my interactions with this individual and see that I haven't behaved the best. I haven't been mean to them, mind you... I've done the best I could at each moment. But underneath it all was the feeling that I didn't want them there.
This is just one person, you say. How can one person stir up so much inner turmoil? Why couldn't I just forget about them? Avoid them?
Because my mind wouldn't let me.
I've also been thinking a lot of the part in "The Untethered Soul," by Michael Singer where he talks about the thorn in the person's arm. How the thorn is very painful and troublesome, and so the person goes to great lengths to avoid hitting this painful thorn in their arm. When all along the person just needed to remove the thorn.
Michael Singer explains that's how it is with any problem in our life. We often tend to try to avoid the problem, push it down, work around it. But what we really need to do to ease the pain and suffering is remove our obsession with it. Stop revolving our life around this thorn in our arm (our stress, pain, anxiety) and instead let go of the stress/anxiety.
Back to the title of this post. Our greatest teachers are often those we least expect. Sure, we can learn many positive traits from amazing people who we love. But we can often learn even more from the people we don't like. The people we wish we didn't have to deal with.
We learn about ourselves. And we grow as humans. If we let ourselves. If we open up and truly get the lesson that each person is here to teach us.
In Peace and Love,