We’ve all had moments where, by a glimpse of conscience, we suddenly recognize, “I am being prodded; pushed to respond with a reaction in the same way I’ve always been… but I have experienced the outcome, the karma of expressing that negativity, and God help me, I know I cannot do it again!”
In that moment, the nature that was formerly active and pushing on the passive part of myself is met by an understanding of myself — that this is not “I” and I cannot do it. I cannot be it. Not because I am strong, but because I recognize the weakness when I see it. And it isn’t even “I” who recognizes the weakness, is it? It’s something that appears in the moment when I need its strength. Its strength is that it shows me my weakness.
From where do I get this strength? I get it from the truth. And what is the truth? I begin to have an awareness that a weakness that I once took as a strength is not strength. I used to think that if I could just push people around with my personality or my money — if I could just somehow get people to be and do what I want — I’d have command. That was my strength. Then, one day, I wake up and I see that I’m hurting someone by what I call my strength. That can’t be strength, and if it’s not strength, then what is it? If it’s harming me and harming the other person, it must be a kind of weakness, mustn’t it? So, I don’t need somebody to tell me what the truth is. I become the vessel in which the truth is revealed, and the revelation of the truth is the seed of the strength to cease that behavior.
Seeing the truth is the beginning of a new strength. Why? Because you take the seed of that truth, and you go to the “spiritual gym” of this present moment with a willingness to understand that every relationship is your spiritual gym. And you can either be working out your new understanding or you can be worked over by allowing a part of yourself to command you to agree to its weakness and avoid realizing the pain it promises if you don’t agree to its command.
What would be the nature of working out? Be watchful. Wake up. Be in the present moment. Our spiritual gym – relative to beginning to have command over what we’re presently being commanded by – begins with our willingness to neither repress nor express. If I start feeling upset about somebody who is expressing negativity towards me, and I feel the anger coming up, I’m not going to suppress this feeling. I feel the anger coming up, but I’m not going to express it either. And if I don’t push it down, and I don’t let it loose, where is the anger? Oh, I see it right there. I am actually aware of this negative energy. I am aware of everything it’s telling me to do to get rid of it, and I’m aware of the fact that if I do anything that it suggests to me to do, I am serving it — and I cannot do it anymore! I have seen the truth — at least with my mind — and I will act on the truth as best I understand it. Even if I fail over and over again as I work out the truth within myself, I agree to fail consciously.
Now, when it comes to meeting these negative states and the threat implied in their pain if you don’t do as commanded by that pain, don’t try to be strong. That is not the exercise. Trying to be strong is a form of resisting weakness. Instead of trying to be strong, be willing to bear what the moment is showing you… all of it. That means you remain in the totality of what has been produced through the experience. Don’t look for strength to escape it. Don’t judge the weakness that is revealed by it. Do as much as you can to bear the revelation. The longer you can bear such revelations, the greater the integration in yourself that is produced. The integration is the expression of the truth, and in that you will find the strength that you need to bear these moments.