If you pause to notice, you can readily find yourself reacting to other people in your life, all the time.
A colleague at work pushes a button and you get ticked off. A family member says or does something, and it sends you into a bout of anger. Someone cuts you off on the road while driving, and you find yourself in a fit of rage.
Why do you react to others in your life?
Usually this has to do with expectations you have inside yourself of what someone should say or not say, or how someone should behave or not behave. These expectations lead to judgments. Judgments lead to anger, resentment, grudges, and such. This is the reaction cycle.
You probably feel that other people in your life are pushing your buttons. You probably feel that if others weren’t pushing your buttons, perhaps routinely, you’d be at peace.
But where are these buttons? Inside yourself, aren’t they? They may have formed due to education, social conditioning, past experiences, or other reasons, but there is no question that the buttons pushed by others are in you. If there were no buttons in you, would it affect you? Would you react to others, in the ways you would do today?
If this makes sense, then we can say that your reactions towards others are a reflection of your own internal state of being, right? i.e. It is because you have buttons in you that have not been examined, processed, and released, that you react to others in the first place. The things you say to others, the quality of your reactions to others, therefore, are more to do with your internal state.
If this is true for you, then it is true for others too, right? That the things that others say to you or someone else, the things that they do, the quality of their behavior or reactions to you or others, is more to do with their internal state, than a statement by them of their perceived value of you as a person, right?
Yogi Bhajan says this quite simply and eloquently:
“If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.”~ Yogi Bhajan
Just like disharmony inside yourself causes you to react to others, disharmony within other people causes them to react to you or others.
What is meant by disharmony here? To understand this clearly, we need to know what harmony would be like in the first place.
The secret of inviting happiness~ Mikao Usui
The spiritual medicine for all illness
Just for today
Do not anger
Do not worry
Be true to your way and your true self
Be compassionate to yourself and others
Mikao Usui, the founder of Usui Reiki Ryoho, the system of Reiki as we refer to it in the modern world, says it quite clearly in those precepts. These precepts point to the way of harmony of body-mind-spirit and the world.
When you are not angry and not worried, when you are humble, honest and compassionate, your body-mind-spirit is in a state of harmony. Your life experience is aligned with the flow of life. In this state, you don’t react to others, you don’t struggle with events or situations in life, but rather, you are in a state of acceptance that is founded in your real nature, which is love, big love.
In turn, when judgments, anger, grudges and resentments are present, when worries, fears, anxieties, and stress come to roost, your body-mind is in a state of disharmony and not aligned with the flow of life, and certainly not rooted in the big love that is your original nature. It is in this state that you react to others and situations in our life. It is in this state, that anything, even small things may push your buttons.
If all that makes sense, then it is quite clear that another person’s behavior towards you has nothing to do with you and all to do with them. Which is what Yogi Bhajan is saying.
There is another deeper aspect to it. In my personal experience, I find that in every experience being experienced in this body-mind, the experience is tailor-made to bring that mirror reflection which can awaken me to my true nature.
A friend is criticizing me in public and that is making me feel angry, Who is feeling angry? The “I” that I think I am. Breathe and let go and return to abiding in True Self.
Some politician is saying inane things on TV that is making me worried about my children’s future. Who is feeling worried? The “I” that I think I am. Breathe and let go and return to abiding in True Self.
When you simply choose to not react as Yogi Bhajan points out, you have the opportunity to abide in the peace of your True Self. OR, when you examine what this experience is causing in you and find who is feeling that, you have the opportunity to let that sense of otherness go and abide in the peace of your True Self.
Either way, your reaction to others’ behaviors can be brought to an end.
Why do these methods work?
Because in the unchanging peace of True Self, there is no separate “I” and therefore no “other”. Only in the otherness that is your personal sense of separate-self, there are others to get angry with, and others to fear or worry about. In the No-otherness that is True Self, there is just One, without a second.
The sense of otherness is the sense you feel of being a separate person, a separate individual who is apart from the world and separate from life. Is this sense of otherness real? Are you this separate individual? Who are you, really? Are you a separate-self? What is the truth of the “I” that you think you are? Get “Awaken: An Experiential Exploration of Enlightenment” and realize in direct experience, your true nature, the No-otherness. Self-Realization.