There is a new-age truism: “I am not responsible for others reactions or triggers”
This is often used to justify or defend one person’s effect on another.
It is true that we cannot make anyone feel a particular way. The way they react to what we do is their choice. The emotion that is triggered by our behaviour and how they express it is their responsibility.
However, this truism is often used an excuse to act in a non-compassionate way to another’s pain. “Yes I said that you were being too sensitive but you were the one that decided to be hurt by this remark. I am not responsible for your feelings”.
However if we are in relationship with another it behooves us to be sensitive to their triggers.
If we are in relationship with someone who has grown up with a verbally abusive parent it will not bring our partner closer to us to have anger and emotional charge in our communication.
For the sake of building the relationship it may be necessary for a partner to be mindful of the way they relate to one with a history of verbal abusive until they can heal this wound in themselves with their own personal work.
Those people who live from the truism “I am not responsible for your feelings” and use this as a defense to act in insensitive ways to others invariably find themselves without any close relationships.
There is a common fallacy in the spiritual world that we should always approach others with a loving heart and be open to them no matter how they are. After all others are divine in nature are they not?
There is a half-truth to this.
All individuals are non-physical in their true nature but at the same time they possess a personality through which they relate to us. This personality is formed around social conditioning and painful experiences. In many ways the personality is formed as a buffer or a defense against overwhelming experiences that they have encountered in others in the past. It is reactive in nature i.e. and when people interact with others and encounter a situation that resembles the past pain they can unconsciously act out of that pain and inflict injury on others.
Out of their hurt they hurt others.
So if we are always loving and open to only seeing the divine in others we may avoid seeing the potential dangers of interacting with injurious people. Porcupines may seem cute but you don’t want to touch them.
There are some important skills to navigate this.
Conscious Openess Versus Innocent Openness
We need to cultivate awareness in our interactions with others. This means using our intuition when meeting others, particularly those people who say they are of higher consciousness. They may actually be very good at putting on a spiritual personality and be actually using it to manipulate us. Many behaviours can be faked, even compassion and authenticity.
I hate to say this but I have seen my share of sociopaths in the spiritual world. They are everywhere wearing white cotton clothing, smiling sweetly and speaking peacefully.
An essential skill is to practice on a daily basis is choosing to extend your awareness on others and noting in your body what you feel. We must learn to rely on our gut feelings: “Is this person safe?” “How do I feel about their interaction?” “Do I feel they are straight with me or hiding other intentions?” and then respond accordingly.
Choosing to be Closed
Some of us can be perpetually open, thinking this is more spiritual and find it difficult to be shut down.
Actually it is just as spiritual to be closed, especially to dangerous people.
This is a skill that can be developed.
A great meditation is to practice opening up to an object (say a piece of fruit) noting what that feels like and then closing down to it and noting what that feels like. As you do this over and over you will develop the ability to be open or closed by choice rather than by chance.
This ability you can use in all your relationships. Sometimes it will improve your relationships with others to notice when you are closed and choose to be open. Sometimes it will improve your relationship with yourself to close down to others when you are open to a situation that is abusive.
Sometimes we may find ourselves in situations from which we cannot extract ourselves. In these cases we need to develop psychic armor that prevents another’s disruptive energy from affecting us.
Practice feeling a shell of protective energy around yourself and then dissolving it. Do this over and over again until you can do this consciously in any situation.
These are a few of the strategies to create safety for ourselves. It is true that our conscious expands on the spiritual path as the result of our interaction with others.
I call this co-evolution.
But this interaction must be safe for us to evolve. Even though individuals may be divine in nature they have personalities that may act out in harmful ways. Human history is replete with examples of professed holy people doing ungodly horrors.
We need to interact with others by conscious choice rather than innocent openness.
This is part of the path of becoming a conscious seeker that I expand on in my book Awakening the Guru in You.
There are lots of porcupines on the spiritual path dressed up like teddy bears. You would not want to hug them.
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Some of us have one or more troublesome inner voices that frequently put us down in our daily grind.
It’s like we have a negative commentator in the audience in the theater of our lives: “You’ll never succeed”, “Who do you think you are thinking so highly of yourself?” “You’re an idiot” “Control yourself” “Just settle for less”. The commentaries are like little vortices going endlessly round and round in the mind gradually drilling deeper and deeper into our self-image and eroding our confidence.
Sometimes these voices are the internalized voices of our parents, peers or other caregivers when we were young. Sometimes they are our own voices echoing erroneous conclusions we have made about ourselves from experiences we have had with others that we didn’t quite understand. Their behaviour was confusing so we decided something about ourselves was wrong: “I’m no good”, “I’m not loveable”, “I’m to blame” etc.
Sometimes these voices yell so loud that we rarely notice that we are really good at heart with the best intentions for most people.
What can we do about these voices?
Well the worst thing we can do is tell them to shut up...that just makes them go into a temper tantrum and scream louder.
In my experience the best thing, (which might seem counter-productive), is to listen to them.
- Listen to the voice and then allow yourself to experience the state it puts you in. The state can be your emotions, body sensations and posture, your thoughts or all of them put together.
- Go into that state and then ask yourself what character this voice would need to be coming from to say what it is saying. It could be the Inner Critic, Controller, Victim, Saboteur, Rebel, etc.
- When you name the character an interesting shift happens. You start to realize that it is a just persona, a mask you are wearing. Its just your ego, not the real you. You will feel some freedom from the ego as you de-identify with it. You are you and the real you is just wearing a mask. You are not the mask.
- Then you can ask that personality what its deeper positive purpose is. The message might be: “I’m here to protect you” “I’m here to offer correction and advice” or “I’m here to guide you” etc
- When you get the real message you make a deal with that persona: “Well Inner Critic here’s the deal if you stop yelling at me, I’ll listen to you but only if you’ll give me your direction when I really need it, not all the time. Then we can live together in peace” When that deal is in place a wonderous thing can help.
Your ego becomes your ally.
It stops upstaging you and becomes part of your supporting cast of characters. Its opposing force turns around, joins with your energy and empowers you more fully to achieve the success and fulfillment you desire.
If you can resonate with what I have said here and you would like to explore this process (and others) to let go of your internal barriers and to make friends with your ego then check out the one day workshop Becoming Your Own Best Friend.
Imagine what can happen if you spend a full day working through this process?
One of the biggest things that influences our prosperity is our beliefs about money.
To show you the truth of this, I'd invite you to do a little experiment.
Just for a moment, entertain the belief that all grey upholstered chairs are very bad for your health. Really take this on...Then imagine yourself sitting in one for an extended period of time. How would you feel in the chair with that belief?
You probably would feel nervous about sitting on it, maybe even somewhat ill. You would not want to sit on it for very long.
Would You Like to Make a Good Income Leading Workshops for Personal and Spiritual Unfoldment?
There are a growing number of people interested in personal and spiritual growth and they are disillusioned with the old style of "teacher/guru on the stage" seminars.
For these people, the old model of the expert delivering dry intellectual information to student/learners via lectures, seminars, webinars, videos, etc is not completely satisfying.
There is a new model called “Co-evolution” where individuals experientially assist one another to self-inquire and find the answers within themselves. These spiritual seekers are less interested in passive dogmatic teachings and more interested in learning pro-active techniques to develop their own wisdom, awareness, compassion and let go of what is holding them back in life.
Remarkably, the Co-evolution process has been proven over decades of application and thousands of retreats world-wide, to produce awakening experiences or self-realization in a retreat-style setting, over 1 1/2 to 3 days. These deep insights into the nature of self and life are similiar to direct experiences reported over the centuries in traditional spiritual and religious ancient literature.
If you can relate to and (maybe are excited by) this you might be interested in the:
Co-evolution Workshop Facilitator Training
This training is an experiential journey into a highly transformational method of helping individuals make significant progress in their personal and spiritual unfoldment.
In this 8 day hands-on training you will learn the principles, theory and techniques of leading individuals through the process of Co-evolution: a method where individuals through contemplation, communication and empathic listening assist each other to grow in self-awareness, compassion and mutual understanding.
The training will occur over 4 - 2 day weekends one month apart, allowing participants to practice and integrate their learning between weekends.
In this training you will learn how to:
- Structure the flow of 1 to 4 day workshops
- Enhance insightful “aha” moments and shifts in awareness
- Use communication “cycles” to improve mutual understanding
- Create and maintain rapport between participants and yourself
- Use the ‘Tell, Show, Do, Review” model of group facilitation
- Initiate self-inquiry processes through one-to-one relating exercises and small groups
- Maintain group energy and engagement
- Identify, manage and sensitively guide participants through common barriers to personal growth.
- Promote and price your workshops
- Develop your skills as a senior assistant and as a master on Coming Home Retreats (Enlightenment Intenisves)
Included in the training:
- Teachings on the principles and techniques of Co-evolution
- Ability drills to enhance your facilitation skills
- Workshop leader's and promotion manuals
- Student mini-workshops with instructor feedback and guidance.
- A copy of the book “Awaken the Guru in You” by Russell Scott that includes over 25 great ideas for workshops
- Membership and support in a beginning network of Co-evolution Workshop Facilitators
Completion of a 4 day Coming Home Retreat (aka. Enlightenment Intensive) and a suitability interview.
Dates and Times:
March 28 -29,
April 18-19 (tentative)
Saturdays: 9:30 am to 8:30 pm and Sundays 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
(Meals and accommodation not included)
Tuition: $800 plus hst
Location: Ignatius Centre, Room 236, East Wing, Orchard Park, 5420 Hwy 6 N, Guelph
Enrollment limited to 12 people.
Note: It is entirely possible that this training can easily be paid for with the first workshop you present.
To set-up a suitability interview:
Or call 519-829-4149
Russell Scott is one of the new generation of “No-dogma spiritual retreat leaders” and the author of the critically acclaimed book; “Awakening the Guru in You”. For over 30 years he has helped thousands of individuals experience and live from the spaciousness and deep fulfillment of their true nature and purpose in life. He is a former retreat centre owner, radio show host and singer-song writer. He gets great joy seeing people on his retreats fall off their chairs in laughter when they realize who they are.
For more information about Russell go to:
I don’t know about you but there have been many times in the past when I just didn’t know what choice to make. I would second guess myself after I made a choice and then go back on it. Or I would decide on something and become fearful that I’d made the wrong decision.
It got to the point where I’d get so anxious I just decided to go along with whatever anybody else wanted. I had lost my capacity to choose.
Sometimes this problem is related to
There are times on the path of Awakening
that the difficulties of life just get too overwhelming
and no matter what we try it’s just too bloody hard.
The daily affirmation is just too shallow.
The angel card message is too trite.
The ascended master prayer is not answered.
The divine light meditation did not soothe us.
We thought that the spiritual path was supposed
to be all happiness and bliss.
That’s what the smiling gurus seem to say.
Maybe the light has shone into the darkness in us
so the real spiritual work can begin:
the transformation of our suffering and pain...
all the human yucky stuff.
Maybe the darkness is causing us to reach out
for the embrace and listening ear of another
instead of the half-read self-help book.
Maybe when we see another in their darkness
we can reach out to them and offer our compassion
and deep understanding without offering a trite solution
like “it’s just your karma” or "this too shall pass".
The real caring human contact with another is far more transformational than anything else on the path...
and it’s the hardest thing to ask for or offer.
Yet it can melt our frozen fears and
get us through the darkness, because ...
maybe the real spiritual path is walking the distance
between ourselves and another
and hearing the true story of the way it really is for them
not just ascending into to some higher fiction.
Maybe we are all fallen angels
and we learn to fly again
with the love of each other under our broken wings....or
Maybe the next saviour that
we’ve all been waiting for
to descend to the earth...
One of the things that independent seekers face on the spiritual path is loneliness.It’s inevitable if we are committed to avoid taking on other’s belief systems and yearn to experience what is true for ourselves.
In fact, succumbing to loneliness and trying to relieve it is sometimes the reason people become blind followers. They would rather trade in the comfort of being in the crowd of religious homogeneity than the insecurity of the solitary quest. There is a certain value of joining a sanga or community but when we give up our own discernment of what is true and not true to avoid loneliness we can become a perpetual student of dogma rather than the source of our own realization. Its often a requirement of the committed spiritual seeker to leave the pack for awhile to achieve this.
Even if we are not on a spiritual path, the experience of loneliness is part of the fabric of life. It can happen when we move to a different city, lose a job, experience the loss of a loved one, leave a relationship and break-up with a friend. In the grief a part of ourselves can go with that person, location or job and we can feel like that piece is missing. Or we can judge an aspect of ourselves harshly and push it aside and then feel an emptiness inside.
Years ago when my daughter was young, she liked to watch a children’s TV show on CBC called: The X. The show was famous for the weird, creative antics of the childhood stars. One month, in the late fall they organized an outdoor concert and show in Toronto. The main event was cooking the world’s largest batch of Poutine.
There are times in life when things can get tough.
We can lose a job or a family member. An investment can go down the tube or we can get in an accident that can affect us physically. We never know when we can fall on hard times.
This happened to me in 2010. My wife and I decided mutually to seperate and I lost my marriage and a beautful rural property that I'd spent many years building up. A good friend of mine gave me a room in his house to stay in for a while. I began a new relationship and then moved into a smaller rental house with other roomates. It was rough because I was country boy, used to a lot of land and trees and a river flowing by.
“When I emerged from the direct experience of who I am (at the retreat) I started to laugh. All of my worries about the future and my resentments about past hurts seemed, in that moment, very small when compared to the vastness of which I was a part. In that moment I knew that joy- real joy that does not deny what is hard in our lives- is a choice. Joy finds us when we feel the elation that comes when we know that we belong- to another, to ourselves, to the world, to the Mystery that is larger than ourselves."
—Oriah Mountain Dreamer from THE INVITATION© 1999 published by Harper San Francisco. All rights reserved. Presented with permission of the author
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- Why Do Affirmations Sometimes Fail?
- Transforming Bitterness
- Mr Potato Head's Awakening Experience
- Besides Stocking Up on Bathroom Tissue - Is There Another Opportunity in this Crisis?
- Problem Resolver Course
- Let's Stop Believing - Just for One Day
- The Ultimate Context Tool for Making Decisions.
- Owning Your Own Universe Project
- Getting Unstuck from the Have-Do-Be World