Several days ago, as I marveled at the multitude of ice crystals spreading out on a beautiful subalpine lake, I suddenly received an insight into an issue that all of us deal with from time to time.
Often when there is a misunderstanding between us and someone else - or when we are accused by someone of doing something wrong - we are tempted to take all of the blame upon ourselves. In my own case, this often occurs with the experience of criticism, when I generally adopt the stance that a problem is all MY fault. However, I find it helpful to realize that this attitude - although it may seem at the time to be noble and honorable - is actually quite egoic. To think that something is all MY fault is just the flip side of thinking that I am God's most important gift to the world. Both involve separating one's self out from the Whole, and in putting all of the emphasis on oneself.
In the context of rejection by another person, we have a more adequate conception of the situation when we realize that while, on the one hand, we are perhaps perceived by the other person as being filled with flaws, on the other hand, they are also missing out on all that we have to offer. They may in fact be viewing us through the filter of their own problematic relationship with someone else, and then projecting that painful situation onto us. Each of us is always part of a whole network of interwoven factors. We never stand alone. Like the multitude of ice crystals decorating a mountain lake, we are all constituent parts of the situation.
Here I'm reminded of a wonderful quote by the Dalai Lama. He says: "Guilt does not exist in Buddhist terminology. With the Buddha-nature all negative things can be purified. Guilt is incompatible with our thinking, as you are part of an action but not fully responsible for it. You are just part of the contributing factors." In Buddhist philosophy, everything is part of a whole network of causes and conditions. Healing comes when we take responsibility for our part in the difficult situation, but then let go and realize that there are dozens of other contributing factors as well, most of which have absolutely nothing to do with us. And in this we find liberation :)
Photo: Ice crystals on The Loch, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, February 9, 2016
Please visit: http://www.resourcesforspiritualgrowth.com/
Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.