Yesterday as I hiked up to a beautiful subalpine lake, I got to thinking about the fact that so much of our lives is spent dealing with people issues. Miscommunications, misunderstandings, differences in world view, and the untransformed aspects of human behavior all factor into our difficulties in dealing with people. And if we are really honest, of course, we realize that WE TOO can be just as difficult for OTHERS to handle.
Often we might fantasize about simply jettisoning the people from our lives who cause us the most difficulty, thereby leading to a more peaceful, stress-free life. Obviously we do need to avoid those whom we experience as toxic in our present state of personal evolution. However, it occurred to me yesterday that in actuality, there will never be a time when these kinds of people issues disappear. In fact, the more we put our vision out into the world, the more potential conflicts will also occur. I've discovered this especially over the past year, when my own vision - and the ways in which it sometimes conflicts with the visions of others - has become increasingly clear in both theory and practice. I also thought about our president, Barak Obama - or any world leader, for that matter - who continually finds himself in hot water with other people no matter WHAT stance he takes!
The answer, I realized, is not so much to fantasize about removing myself from people, but to focus more time and energy on the Primary relationship, which is the one I have with the Beloved - the Divine Presence, the Ultimate Mystery. In the case of Wilderness Mysticism, this means both Goddess and God, or Mother Earth and Father Sky, the Web of Life and the Great Beyond, Unci Maka and Tunkashila. Hiking in the silence of the Great Outdoors yesterday with not another person in sight, I experienced once again the perpetual and mutual bliss of these Two, of a God lost in spacious awareness, and a Goddess lost in form-and-energy, both appearing in the guise of mirrors with their corresponding mirror-images, but with no Originals ever to be found. And there I found myself, dwelling in the middle - in the space between the two facing mirrors, tasked with the eternal calling to hold the Two in loving, creative tension!
Whenever I focus on THIS primal union, then I find that my difficulties with people seem more manageable and workable. For they are, after all, the trickster side of both God and Goddess, challenging me - and each of us - to hold to our truest calling and vision, no matter what the challenges we encounter!
Photo: Lichen rocks on The Loch, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, March 28, 2016
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.