January 10, 2011 (#55)

Student: What is the most enlightened way to communicate with someone who is very difficult?

Michael: The same way I’ve suggested that you speak to someone who complains a lot; listen deeply and speak from a place of open generosity.

Student: But what if they’re totally narcissistic and seemingly uninterested in any point you might want to make?

Michael: Listen deeply and, if you feel inclined, speak from a place of open generosity.

Student: Okay. I get it, it’s just that over the years, I have learned and chosen to be very, very quiet. This, I’m discovering, especially applies to those that have seemed to overwhelm me with their forcefulness. Recently I’ve been feeling as if I may be ready to express myself more fully. Not sure how to find and then use my voice wisely.

Michael: I so often speak of stillness and silence that it probably comes as a surprise to know that, yes, sometimes living out loud and offering a full-throated roar can be the most appropriate response you could give. Offering, for example a resolute, NO! can be incredibly loving. The same applies to any response if the intent of the words is consciously sourced from silence.

Student: It’s interesting since my typical response to, say, the violence that I see on the news, is so similar to the responses that I offer to those with big personalities. I tend to retreat inward, duck the conflict and hide. But this is not fully participating, is it?

Michael: Not if it’s a way of avoiding whatever is being offered to you.

Student: I’m guessing that the same applies to how I might try to consciously meet an unconscious person who blaming, fearful, forceful and angry? There is compassion for him, and even love. Beyond this, and from a human standpoint, what is there to do?

Michael: Listen deeply and speak from a place of open generosity. But aside from that response, tell me, what comes up for you when you confrontation happens?

Student: Mostly that what is going on between me and any of my challenging relationships is the perfect opportunity to practice an enlightened response to what is going on in the world. You’ve mentioned that if we don’t practice what we uncover on the meditation cushion that we’re wasting an opportunity for meaningful activism. I see this as a calling for me to be more politically involved which is totally new for me. I don’t know how, was never taught. I’ve always stuck my head in the sand, which, I now see, manifested as a lack of interest in what was going on in the bigger picture both socially and politically. I have blamed my being uninformed on having too many responsibilities at home and at work. But I see now that really I have been avoiding a deeper participation in life for myself and for others. Thanks for showing me this. It’s like I’m filled with the sadness of all of the tragedies and yet I’m also so aware of the beauty infused like gold thread throughout. It feels like what you refer to as Big Love.

Michael: Wow. Big Love is powerful. So here’s a recommendation: keep weaving this very life with that gold thread.


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