I’m sharing this experience because I feel it illustrates the power of self-knowledge practices to drastically alter one’s perspective of a situation.
In this personal account, I had succumb to countless negative, harmful emotions as a result of what someone did to me, and only after I had “suffered enough” did I realize that I really needed to fight the psychological darkness and reach an understanding.
The understanding I reached was a struggle to attain and painful to uncover (because I saw some really dark things within), but I am grateful for the knowledge I acquired and the state of forgiveness I eventually attained. Given this overall context, let me start with the beginning…
Problem at Work
At one point, a work acquaintance, “Alice”, say, who I was on quite friendly terms with, had done something that had a negative impact upon my work and I felt deeply hurt and frustrated. To be fair, what she did was well within her rights and I had no reason to expect or require that she not do what she did.
Perhaps her course of action was poorly thought out (I had evidence to support this), but I was powerless to do anything other than accept the situation. In this matter, she was in a position of power and to challenge what she had done was nearly impossible.
Except, while I accepted the situation from a physical perspective in that I tried to carry on working, psychologically, I was burning with rage and feeling despair. I felt immense hatred towards Alice. How could she have done such a thing? Did she not feel any remorse for her actions? How nice it would be to see her feeling remorse some day and for me to not forgive her, just to see her suffer… All these thoughts and more churned in my mind.
Wow… looking back that these thoughts, it’s both funny and scary to see what was going on.
I actually had trouble getting work done in the short run because I would lose my concentration to feeling angry or depressed about what happened. I just couldn’t accept what she had done. I even thought about quitting my job!
Yeah, it was bad: I was totally obsessing over the situation. Intellectually, I knew that the “wrongdoing” would have little long-lasting effect upon my work, but I couldn’t get free of the tormenting emotions. My emotions were winning over my intellect.
Deciding Enough Was Enough
One evening, I decided that enough was enough, and I had to do something.
I asked for a lot of help from above to overcome my dark feelings: as sad and angry as I felt, I knew, deep down, that the negativity was my own responsibility to eradicate and I could not rely upon my external surroundings to bring me happiness. I also did not wish to harm Alice (or others) through my negative feelings, even if my mind and emotions acted in contradiction.
I did a meditation on an ego exercise, that I had learned from Belsebuub’s works, knowing that I needed to see things from a perspective I was quite evidently lacking during the day.
The meditation revealed such dark inner motives and justifications to my inner turmoil that it sounds terrible to write. I think first of all, I need to say that outside the realm of thoughts and emotions and feelings, when truly in the moment, being aware, I did care about Alice as a friend and wished her well.
But there were more unconscious elements that I had been oblivious to throughout my work with Alice. All of these elements worked together, “setting me up” for failure. To name a few:
- attachments: I had become attached to “the way things were”, if you will, in how we related to each other on a day-to-day basis, and suddenly things were different.
- self-image: a part of my sense of self was based in how I thought Alice and others at work perceived me; her actions threatened this sense of self.
- selfishness: she had wronged me and I, therefore, no longer liked her.
- self-doubt: the scenario lead me to lose confidence in the quality of my work, leading to low emotional states.
In addition to seeing the constituent parts of my emotional state, I saw how this general experience was not in any way new to my work with Alice.
I had been through nearly identical situations at a previous place of employment, back in high school with some of the friends I made, back in elementary school with different classmates, and in my extracurricular activities of the past.
The external circumstances may have differed, but in all the cases I could recall, there was someone with whom I’d had a similar “psychological history” as mine with Alice and who then hurt me with a similar mechanism. My troubles with Alice were as old as my life itself.
Coming out of the meditation, I had seen a lot, although I knew I’d barely scratched the surface. I followed the meditation on an ego with the Yoga Asanas, where I also focused upon eliminating the negativity.
The Next Day
The next day was better in that I had to interact with Alice and I did so rather normally. My awareness was generally stronger, but I wasn’t altogether fixed. My mind would still periodically dwell on the past. I proceeded to repeat my “cleansing” routine that night and the following night.
By the end of all of this, I feel that I was finally past the situation for nearly all practical purposes; it no longer played in my mind, the low emotions were cleared, and I genuinely felt forgiveness for what Alice had done. I even managed to feel that genuine fondness for her again.
From this, I suppose there are two things I gleaned. The first is obviously just how life-changing self-knowledge is. I don’t even know how long I would have remained upset had I not decided to work diligently upon the problem.
The second insight is more a reflection upon the standards required to bring about a true and profound spiritual change within. I wasn’t dealing with anything all that difficult, in comparison to the hardships Belsebuub describes in his spiritual journey; this was a sombre reminder of the tremendous efforts and voluntary suffering necessary to reach an advanced spiritual stage.