Recently it’s come to my attention that when I claim that I am not a part of something, it comes to light that I actually am very much a part of that which I have believed myself to be immune to or separate from, and that my misperception arises simply because I do not display the same behaviours as someone who is expressing them in the most extreme forms.
For example: I considered myself to be very open and welcoming of all people. Having been brought up in a predominantly English town and countryside and attending a school with Christian beliefs, my interactions with those of other racial backgrounds and religious affiliations were limited. But because I was not outwardly verbal or actively engaging in hate speech or intolerance towards others, as I had seen some people do, I assumed that I held no prejudices, but was instead a very open person.
Last year I moved into an area of London where a large percentage, if not the majority, of the residents are from Africa and the Caribbean. Equally, there is a very strong Christian and Muslim community presence. When I moved into the area, walking through the local streets I had this feeling of tension in my body; on the High Street and in the local stores I found I was avoiding people. I was holding beliefs that I could not speak to, or be seen engaging with, these people because we were from two different worlds. Even before moving to this area, I often struggled to understand the Caribbean and African accents and would avoid conversations with people with such accents so I would not feel uncomfortable about not understanding what was being said and to avoid expressing that I didn’t understand.
It then occurred to me in conversation with another that I was, in fact, prejudiced against people! This grated on my pride, which was claiming that because I don’t outwardly make snide comments or verbal or physical attacks, that I was not a part of such a consciousness, and yet here I was doing the exact same thing, simply played out in another way.
Since this realisation, my relationship with my local community has opened up and continues to grow. The feelings of being uncomfortable or out of place are fading away and I am far more at ease approaching and speaking to those who live around me. It’s like a barrier broke down; the barrier of the belief that our outward appearances, religions and origins make us completely different and unable to connect to one another.
From this example I have started to take notice when there are these ‘I don’t do that’ thoughts. I’ve found that there is often something to pay attention to, because there is a tone of defence in those thoughts, and if I truly were not a part of that energy that can be seen in the most extreme and the more subtle behaviours, then why the need for me to defend in the first place? This comes up anytime I react to another’s behaviour and judge it as being wrong in some way, because in this stance, I believe I have the right to judge without looking back at myself to see if that same quality is also playing out in my own life and within my own choices, or has done so in the past.
This experience has opened up my understanding as to what Serge Benhayon shares about us all being connected at all times and that, just because our actions may not outwardly match those of another who is expressing the same quality in a more extreme way, it doesn’t mean our own downgraded version of the same energy is any less potent. It only indicates that we have accepted an illusionary scale of what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior, without looking underneath at the root energy that can only be love or not-love. A small dose of abuse and a large dose of abuse both, in the end, equal abuse.
At the same time, the love that Serge Benhayon shares is no greater than the love we can express, only that through his consistent choices we see the grander effect of what built upon expressions of love can bring, when compared to our own position of starting out and learning the basics of expressing love, rather than expressing harm. In this way it shows us that our expressions of love are not lesser, but that the deeper expressions that come through those who have worked on living a loving life are an example of the potential our loving expressions can bring, should we also choose to build on, and with, them.
Life’s outplays come from energy and when this is brought to the fore of our attention, it starts to break down this accepted scale of behaviours that we have deemed are loving or harming. Energy tells us precisely if a behaviour, word, gesture, or movement is love or not love. This allows us to understand life far better than when we rely exclusively on the physical world to present us with the extreme ends of the scale – and then hides the same ills in the perceived ‘good’, ‘benevolent’ or ‘tolerant’ ways of living.
By looking at my reactions and judgments towards others and flipping the mirror back to myself, I cannot stand before anyone and say, “I don’t do that,” or that I have never done that, for it is, in fact, a lie. Keeping myself open to understanding why people do what they do, and by learning and understanding how I do the exact same, just in my own style, indicates that we are not separate from each other, but in fact very related and connected.
With all of this in consideration, how then is it possible to believe that we are separate individuals when we are so relatable to one another? By looking at these behaviours, from another and within myself, I am learning that these reactions and ill ways are not me, thus they are not the other person either.
When looking beyond them and connecting to the beauty within me again, it equally opens up my ability to receive the beauty in others, who are also not exclusively their behaviours. Clearly, we all have greater depths waiting to be expressed and it is together, through our reflections, that we support each other to become aware of this.
By Leigh Matson