Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching.
November 2, 2011 (#43)
Student: What is the best response to someone who complains a lot?
Michael: It’s often difficult to have open dialog with someone immersed in negativity, but dialog is often the appropriate response more often than not. We always have three options, as Ive said before, in dealing with difficulty: change it, leave it, or accept it totally. These options apply to every situation. With a negative person we can dialog in hopes of offering change. We can get out of their vicinity or even distance ourselves from their lives. Lastly, we might learn that meeting them with total acceptance offers us a space where openness can offer an increase in consciousness. This increase in consciousness has the potential to transform situations as well as people.
Student: This is so interesting since Ive watched transformation occur in ways that havent been so comfortable.
Teacher: Thats to be expected. Transformation that arises out of a deepening of consciousness isnt always what the small self wants.
Student: So true. Right now Im watching friendships wither from a lack of interest on my part. Its like I feel a deep lack of connectivity in relationships that used to sustain me. Pretty soon it’ll just be me and my cats.
Teacher: Things could be worse. More often than not, cats are the embodiment of enlightenment. But, kidding aside, I should also point out that friendships that wane during the course of deep spiritual work dont have to end, necessarily. Often Ive seen them come back even stronger as the work begins to deepen and settle. This doesnt always happen but when it does its pretty cool to see.