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"Difficult People" as Egoic Reflections can Bring Us to Freedom

Jun 15, 2022
Reading time 11 min.

This physical human experience within its dimension of duality is both phenomenal and weird.
The spiritual Awakening process is not easy and the perceptual shifts ego-mind goes through is nothing short
of amazing. It’s wild, it’s wondrous, it’s confusing. The ego-mind is based on an either-or orientation and it can only see either this or that. It cannot hold both without rejecting one or the other. The expanded perception
of Awareness is oriented towards both-and. It can hold seemingly opposing views without rejecting either, because it can see through both. Awareness recognizes the validity of both on differing “levels” and arranges
an integration point for handling situations in the physical dimension.

We experience clear moments of Awareness each day. Imagine seeing a child wearing a SuperHero mask, running at full-tilt with out-stretched arms through the house. The adult mind sees the child’s mind is absorbed
by imagination, he believes he’s “flying” because he is a SuperHero who can fly. When the child says he’s wearing his “invisibility cloak”, the adult sees the blue and purple beach towel knotted around the child’s shoulders and understands. The adult may even play along. “I wonder where Timmy is, I could have sworn I heard him
fly into the kitchen, but I don’t see him. Where did he go? Oh, well, I guess he’s flown away.”

This is Awareness, able to “hold”* both* imagination and fact, which don’t “match” in this moment.
The adult can hold both the flying, invisible SuperHero and the child wearing a mask and a beach towel without needing to prove one is factually valid and the other to be imaginative.

As we spiritually awaken, perception expands to include seeing through even more of the human dream.
That which was previously believed to be “factual” is realized to be part of creative mind’s imaginative play
or illusion. We may have heard it said that “others” are “us”, we are One. When perception is limited to duality, this causes confusion. “But there are 2 bodies, not one. There are 2 minds, not one. Their feelings and thoughts are not my feelings and thoughts. This is crazy.” The egoic mind can only see duality, a “me” and a “him/her/them”.

Awareness, which enters this physical dimension from the Transcendental, sees the Oneness
of Beingness. That essence of consciousness which is beyond all objects in form: bodies, thoughts, emotion. This common essence or Consciousness beyond the human experience is that point of Oneness.

Ego-mind is described as unconsciousness, sleep, being lost in the dream or illusion.
Awareness is described as being awake, Conscious Consciousness, seeing through the illusion or dream.
During spiritual Awakening perception will open to reveal not only moments of recognition of the dual state
and the state of Oneness, but there will arise a point of integration. This is both-and state of mind, where the human dream and That Beyond overlap in gentle harmony. One can see their egoic-personality “me”,
their essence of Beingness which is One and their form-identity of thought-emotion stream plus a physical body, simultaneously.

How is this expansion helpful in everyday human life? Seeing through Awareness rather than seeing
only through the ego-mind’s duality is a return to our inherently natural state of Freedom, Wonder, Peace and Joy. The dual state of ego-mind is the viewpoint of suffering which is a limited experience of the Truth of Who We Are. It’s not bad nor wrong, it’s just limited. Like wearing clothes we’ve outgrown, it pinches, binds, chafes,
is uncomfortable and even hurts.

As perception expands, we better understand cause/effect and we recognize functional human behavior
and dysfunctional human behavior within a world of duality. When we “look” through the dual perspective,
we understand which behaviors result in positive outcomes and difficult consequences within the context
of cause/effect. We’re also able to “transcend” the dual perspective and view Life through the Transcendental perspective of neutrality. The Free mind sees only benevolence and can “hold” the viewpoint of unpleasant or difficult consequence without reactivity. This is Freedom from the attachment and identification with ego-mind
while still seeing the ego-mind dance its dance.

While the Transcendental is moving to expand dual perception during Awakening, we can practice, use certain tools to help our adjustment. When we learned to swim, we might have started out using “floaties” or a life jacket to increase our buoyancy and decrease our drag until our muscle became stronger. This tool of owning ego’s projection and reflections is one such aid.

When we see “other” and become frustrated, ego-mind is firing negative thoughts about “their” conditioned behavior. Ego-mind is doing what it does best, projecting the upset caused by its thoughts “outside”. It overlays its perspective onto “other” and becomes upset. This is not to say the “other’s” behavior may not be an expression of unconscious conditioning in some way; the “upset” about it or the interpretation, is ego-mind’s perspective, believed thoughts, alone. As the spiritual teacher Byron Katie says, “This is earth school; this is where we learn cause/effect.” Our negative experience of this dimension is the result of ego-mind’s imaginative play in its playground - our out-pictured world.

The next time we notice we’re upset over something someone else has done, we can look to our thoughts.
What thought(s) is mind “attaching to” (believing)? Awareness can see the thoughts generated by mind. We can notice how believing these negative thoughts create a following negative emotion. Awareness can “hold” this negative emotion without being swept up in its momentum. This emotion which feel negative, is centered around “a me”. This is ego-mind’s identification with a “personal sense of self”. The egoic “me” believes “me/I” is separate from “other: him/her/them”.

We can recognize that ego’s attachment and identification are happening. We can recognize the ego
feels separate and fearful. We can watch how ego-mind mounts a defense to protect its “me” identity.
We can watch the ego-mind attack by going “outside” to project blame onto the other:
“He’s lying, she’s not being responsible, they are taking advantage, he’s addicted,
she’s being vindictive, they are being greedy…” Awareness can see unconsciousness.
Awareness can notice conditioned human behavior. Awareness sees actions which create cause/effect
difficulty. There’s nothing wrong nor right about what Awareness sees, this is neutral Wisdom.
This is the understanding of cause/effect as it plays out within the context of human behavior.

What’s often “missed” is the ego’s investment during this process. When the ego believes the “fault” of its upset
is “out there”, this is its error. When the ego believes the unconsciousness is only in “other”, this is another error. The ego is coming from separation, not Oneness. The ego is coming from fear, not Certainty. These errors
of simple confusion tend to override the arising Awareness, not because the ego is strong but because it’s murky.
It’s hard to see clearly with mud in our eyes.

We can address the upset within our own experience by addressing the ego’s believed thoughts and the
emotions they create. “But what about the other person, who’s gonna stop them from doing what they’re doing?!” The ego will continue to “leave it own experience” to obsess “outside” on “other”. If we stay within our business
of our own experience, Life will rebalance what’s needed within Life’s experience. The “other” will experience what’s needed within their own experience. This is cause/effect within the experience of duality. Leaving Life’s business and “their” business alone will allow full focus on freeing ourselves from our own suffering arising within our own business.

“Okay, so I’ve focused on my own business and I’m back to a sense of calm. If ‘I’ saw unconsciousness ‘out there’, as ‘someone else’ aren’t ‘I’ supposed to do something about it? If I just leave someone else’s conditioned behavior alone, won’t it continue? Doesn’t that affect ‘me’ or someone else in some negative way? I’m calm but I still feel like I should ‘do’ something.” This is a beautiful moment. The recognition that change might be necessary is the moment of quantum motion. The ego’s mistake is that the movement of change must be carried out by “other”.

We’ve often heard it said, “Be the change we wish to see in the world.” This is our grandest opportunity, for inner change will reflect outwards in this dual context. The tug that we feel “inside” is where the change wants to manifest. This is why we feel it, within our own experience. Can we truly know the other is supposed to change? Do they feel it? How can we know for sure? If we feel it, this is the where the change is to happen. The dual mind is confusing and we can be guided through it using what we’ve learned about cause/effect,
the staying in our own business and the Transcendental flow of Awareness which can see unconscious conditioned behavior and nothing but mind play happening.

“How can I do this, how do I use the tool of Reflection?”
Imagine the “other person” as a mirror. Use the dual perspective, allow ego mind to believe
the “other” is separate for the moment. This allows and accepts ego without fighting it.
See “him/her/them” as a mirror, not a person. Know ego is projecting this image of him/her/they as it they’re separate. Listen to Awareness point out the unconsciousness conditioned behaviors that are seen:
“His lying; they’re acting vindictively by spreading lies that aren’t factual to influence opinions; throwing a temper tantrum; not paying her bills on time; indulging an active addiction; passive-aggressively showing up late and laughing about in hostility to prove no one has control over them; her bulldozing to get their way by using demands and force instead of making requests and letting go of expectations; his complaining and blaming as a means to fluff up ego instead of taking assertive, empowered action…etc.”

Now take a deep breath and “own” the ego’s projection that it is attempting to lay onto the
“other person.” Gulp! This is going to be very hard and it’s going to take maximal openness
and courage. This is inner work, this is looking the ego in the eyes without flinching.
This is bringing the ego’s denial to its knees. We are fully capable because Awareness is Here.
When Awareness is seeing through ego, there is no blame, no shame, no punishment,
no contempt, no guilt. There is complete acceptance, allowance and neutrality.
There is innocence, just an oops of misunderstanding, not intentional, not personal, not at fault.

The ego will react and react with the full force of negative attack and defense.
“But I don’t do that! I don’t lie, I’m not vindictive, I don’t gossip, I don’t try to manipulate opinions, I don’t throw temper tantrums, I pay my bills on time, I don’t indulge addiction, I don’t show up late, I don’t bulldoze, I don’t complain and blame!...” Let the ego voice its reactivity without acting it out. Let it silently rage, blow its top, scream, defend, deny, avoid, attempt to prove it’s right. Like every outburst, it will eventually subside.
Awareness is not threatened. Awareness cannot be harmed. Just wait the ego out.
The Wisdom from the depth of our Beingness will arise to meet the ego in a welcoming embrace
because it recognizes the ego’s pure innocence of misunderstanding.

This is not denial of any behavior of “other”, this is the world of duality. This is intense focus on ‘here,
this experience, not the experience of ‘other’.” This owns ego’s projection. This is the ultimate ownership
of all responsibility and accountability for inner experience. This deflates and collapses ego’s ability
to “go outside”, to project responsibility for inner experience where it doesn’t exist.

Now we can use the world of duality to learn cause/effect from the reflection of unconsciousness which seems
to be in “other”. We can spot the reflection in “other” of “ego-here”. Where, in this experience of egoic conditioning, arising within, can I find even 1% of that conditioned behavior? If not in behavior, can I find it in the mind as egoic thought? If I’ve not spread gossip, have I had a negative thought about someone in my mind as a thought? Did that thought in my mind, once I believed it, spread to other negative thoughts in my mind about that person? This is a type of “mental gossip” not so unlike the physical gossip “they” did. Can I own that outer reflection within this experience here? This is where the change happens. No blame,
no guilt, no shame, just recognition.

Our Freedom is at stake and we deserve our Divine Inheritance of the ego-less state.
Each egoic strand of conditioning recognized is another layer of Freedom from the limitation created by ego.

If I’ve paid my bills on time, where have I not done something “on time”? If I don’t complain and blame out loud like so-so does, are there complaining thoughts in my mind? Just that tiny % is unconsciousness and it has its cause/effect within our own experience. This is where our work begins, with clear seeing. We might find it’s not so easy to turn that conditioning around “on a dime” as we may have expected “another” to be able to do it with a snap of our fingers. It’s humbling yet it’s Freeing.

“What if I go through all of this and something still needs to be done to address a situation?”
Only after going through this can the “something to be done” be carried out with the power of unconditional love. This is appropriate or “right” action. This action will be infused with Goodwill and it will be carried out in peace even if the answer is “no”. Peace doesn’t mean no-action. Peace means action devoid of war, of negativity; without egoic motive of attack nor defense. When a child reaches for a hot stove and your hand quickly, gently guides the child’s hand away from the stove, this is a type of “no”, coming from unconditional love. There is no slap, there is no anger, there is no berating nor shaming, there is no blame, there is just swift action coming from Goodwill, peace, wellbeing and harmony. When the ego is not driving action, Wise action will manifest. Wise action may be a “yes” or it may be a “no”. Peace can be found in both.

When we reclaim ego’s projections and reflections, our interactions with others improve.
We stay within our business, our actions come from peace, our actions are unconditionally loving,
mind is quiet and calm. We work with duality without being bound by ego’s limitation as a “me” absorbed
in duality. We realize even deeper depths of Freedom from suffering, Freedom from cause/effect.
We become more Aware of the flow of Deepest Wisdom for our recognition is clear and unimpeded
by the restrictions and limitations of ego.

With You as Awakening Unfolds

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