Has this ever happened to you?:
You’re in a conversation, nodding + smiling along to what the other person is saying.
But 10 seconds later, you really get what they just said, you really hear it, and you realize you’ve been nodding + smiling along to their words, but you completely disagree with them.
Or maybe you even think what they’ve said is a bold-faced lie. Or just plain ol’ mean.
Ever been there?
This used to happen to me constantly.
I wanted harmony and connectedness so badly that I defaulted to assuming that if we’re making eye contact and you’re fully focused on me, talking with enthusiasm and energy, then clearly, you must be a good person who I should wholeheartedly support in all things.
*this is where I facepalm myself*
Usually, after something like this happened, I’d beat myself up about it for weeks.
Mentally chastising myself for not sharing my opinion or for just not being quick enough on my feet to digest their comments and pop out an immediate, intelligent reply.
And at some point in each one of these self-kicking sessions, I’d rationalize my irritation away with thoughts like:
Actually, it doesn’t matter. I wasn’t going to change her opinion anyway.
It’s good I didn’t say anything – that’s just my ego wanting to be ‘right’.
This was an opportunity to practice Acceptance and Unconditional Love.
Even spiritual lingo can be used to justify playing small.
One of the things I love most about our spiritual community is that the vast majority of our discourse is on the Light. We focus on joy, loving-kindness, optimism and We are all ONE-ness. I love it.
This is where I want to place the majority of my life’s focus:
Loving up the Light. Never denying the Dark, but also never taking up residence there.
My neighborhood = Light Lane.
One of the dangers we face in making these lite feelings and beliefs the hottest game in town, is that things like DISAGREEMENT get relegated to a lower status.
We bandy about refrains like:
Accept people as they are.
Allow differences of opinion without resistance.
Embrace compassion, not confrontation.
Of course. Right on, family.
But here’s the branch we need to add to this tree:
Accepting someone else’s views does not mean you need to be silent about your own.
You can softly accept their views and stand strong in your vastly different political perspective.
You can feel abiding, eternal love for her and decide to end the relationship.
You can extend compassion and clearly state that you’re done with that old school, patriarchal mess.
Walking the spiritual path of acceptance and love for all does not require that you drop the values, opinions and perspectives that make you your unique self.
It does not mean that your values and much-needed boundaries need to be washed away in order to be deemed spiritually pure.
How about we redefine the Light?
How about Light is about love and compassion and acceptance AND about truth-telling and not sugarcoating or avoiding?
How about Light welcomes all your parts, including the capacities of your mind to think a thing through and say Yep, totally with you or Actually, no, I don’t see it that way?
How about Light fuses Love + Authenticity, instead of choosing one over the other?
This blindly-smiley-forever-nodding version of the spiritual person is played out. It doesn’t serve us and it doesn’t help us serve.
I smile at you because I love you.
And when I disagree with you (and I probably will), the love is still right.here.