This is part of a letter we wrote to TZF’s good friend, Elsa Joy Bailey. This material, and a lot of other good stuff, can be viewed on her website, http://www.elsajoy.com.
As you may be aware, Elsa, I used to have a real career in the real world. There, my last boss was a man I found very difficult to work for. In his defense, I note that he suffered from chronic physical pain, and, goodness knows, that can put a dent in anyone’s personality. But whatever the cause, he made my work, and by extension my life, more difficult, much more difficult, than it needed to be. At least, that was my perception.
In the end, of course, I quit. I left that job, and that career, and that world. From there, Nancy and I moved to the woods in Maine, where we built our own home ourselves, discovered life, and awakened to the Self.
Back then, I cursed the man. I was unable (unwilling) to see beyond the discomfort he caused me, and I blamed him. I suppose I hated him.
Now, I recognize that he was the fool who provided the push I needed. Now, I love him. Consider this. The man he replaced, the man who had been my previous boss, was a delight, and I loved working for him. Had he remained in place, my life then would have been far more pleasant. But what about my life now? Would I have quit? Would I have moved to Maine? Would I now know who I am?
So, who knows what function a fool might be playing in one’s life. Suppose you were to be informed by a Reliable Source that, despite the appearances, this person who bugs you so is not an adult, but is actually a ten year-old child, a youngster thrust into an adult world, forced to try to pass for an adult. Even, perhaps, your much younger sister or brother. How would that change your perception of him or her? Would you be surprised or offended or even annoyed by the fact he or she behaves like a fool from time to time? On the contrary, I suspect your heart would go out to him or to her. You would make whatever allowances were necessary. Indeed, you would scold others who made fun of or otherwise picked on this child.
How do you know that this person is not in fact a child? He or she may look like an adult, even sometimes seem to behave like an adult, but is he or is she an adult? Ask yourself that. Ask yourself how old – or, rather, how young – this person is, not in chronological time, but in Real Time.
You may be surprised at the answer.
Finally, consider this. As seekers, we must recognize that your question is fundamentally meaningless. If God is Infinite, then God is All There Is; and if God is All There Is, then we and our lives and everyone and everything in them are One and the Same One, God. Including the fool.
We are God-being-us. Or, we might say, I am God “Stefan-ing,” you are God “Elsa-ing,” another is God “Margaret-ing” and so on. Further, what each of us calls “my life” is God-being-”my life”, and everyone and everything inhabiting what each of us calls ”my life” is God-being-that.
In a word, we are God awash in God.
Likewise, our discomfort with the fools in our lives (”God fool-ing”) is itself none other than God-being-”my discomfort”.
In that case, why do we resist so persistently? We know that resistance is inherently futile, and only aggravates our discomfort. Why do we not welcome the fool and the discomfort he or she lays upon us as simply another face of God? It can be done. And, much as the ego despises it, it is likely to be far more productive than resistance.
How to do it?
Try this. Go into meditation, or whatever form of silence works for you, and there, deep within yourself, bring to your awareness an image of the fool that is driving you nuts. Not just a quick snapshot, but a true image. So true, you can almost smell or hear the person. Freely acknowledge whatever it is about this person that you dislike. But now, instead of pushing him or her away as you might normally do, open your heart, and open your arms, and draw him or her to you. Forgive him or her, and hear him or her accepting your forgiveness. Now, ask him or her to forgive you, and hear him or her doing so. Fully, joyfully, and unconditionally, accept into yourself all his or her traits, good and bad. Include in this loving embrace not just the fool, but the environment in which you and the fool relate. Leave nothing unabsorbed. Make this encounter so real that you actually feel the person becoming a part of you.
It will not be easy. Indeed, it will probably take more than one attempt. But if you want to fix this, you can do it.
And if you do it properly, it will work. Your perception of this person will change. You will no longer be projecting assorted forms of nastiness upon him or her, and that will change the nature of your relationship. That, in turn, will change your life.
In the end, this is what we do with everyone and everything in our lives. We accept our lives as our selves. We forgive our lives, and we learn to love them. No judgments, no barriers, no distinctions, no conditions. “I recognize myself in all that there is, and all that there is in myself.” Just the One. Full Circle.