I thought I might get away with closing down my resentment machine and that would be that.
But, no, I find that releasing resentments handles the past. Renouncing resentment handles the future. But neither handles the present, necessarily.
Because resentment is a result of something, some other process. And it’s that that has to be shut down.
The process is something like this: Get irritated or angry with someone; try to get them to behave the way we want or to do something we want them to do; when they refuse or fail, we resent them.
I could stair-step this process down, but what we’d find at the basis of it is what Kathleen calls “separation.” We feel separate from each other.
We’d have to address that sooner or later. And to do that she recommends the process of compassion – walking a mile in another’s skin.
Just as releasing resentment removed the need for forgiveness, so here compassion may help me in the present to see why I should forgive everyone. It may help me to see their situation.
To see life from their perspective. To discover the reasons why they behave as they do. To feel what they feel.
And again I’m not going to have time to go through a laundry list of names of people I could be compassionate with. I’m going to have to look at the subject generically and selectively.
I notice that when I think of a friend that I have particular difficulty with, if I want to feel what he feels, I have to drop a layer of self-righteousness. It isn’t just an automatic thing. There’s a layer of resistance I have to go through.
Compassion doesn’t come naturally to me. At least not right away, not with strangers, not with people who look likely to scam me, etc. Love comes more easily to me than compassion. Compassion seems to require a letting down of the guard that I resist.
I hear: “You can’t trust anyone.” “You have to have eyes in the back of your head.” These are voices from my Dad.
These are the hallmarks of a vasana. But I go deeper than this first memory.
Why is it that I’ve made myself so guarded? I ask my mind to shoot up an image of the original incident.
I see myself, after the family visited the Vice-Principal, hearing my Mom and Dad say that if I ever discussed the family’s secrets again, I’d be sent to a boarding school. I’d told the VP that my family quarreled.
After that, I concluded that I was on my own in the family. It was at that moment that I gave up the idea of outside help for the domestic violence that was happening and withdrew from the world.
I’d already withdrawn from my Dad and now I withdrew from the world.
Now, changing the behavior patterns that resulted from it feels like rolling a stone uphill. I feel lethargic. I want to go back to sleep.
And that may be what a lot of us do when asked to make what might be for us a radical departure – in this case, being compassionate.
Strangely enough, this is a time when the Divine Mother is asking us to withdraw our attention from the disinformation being purveyed to us from so many directions. She is saying withdraw, even as I connect with how withdrawn I’ve become and resolve to engage. I seem to be swimming upstream.
But she is saying to withdraw from negative influences and I am saying to engage with positive influences. There is no inconsistency.
Compassion results from engagement. No engagement, very little compassion, I think.
And I have every rationale for not engaging – writer needs his space, busy lightworker, too many people asking for money, don’t like this group or that group, etc., etc.
This one is not going to be handled through processing alone. It has also to be handled through engagement.
A day later….
Engagement for me is just not going to happen. I couldn’t get forgiveness by focusing on forgiveness itself, but only got it by focusing on releasing resentment. So here I may need to find a back door to compassion because engagement on any scale is simply inaccessible for me. Unlike many around me who are the central hub of networks of engagement.
And after the Reval, it’ll only get worse. It may have to wait as a lesson…. My eyes are open. I am aware of it. Perhaps awareness and openness alone will bring me the lessons I need to learn in this area.