I think we can safely assume that a huge chunk of the population has seen “Avatar”. Some people thought it was a cliched, box-office monster full of computer-animated blue people. Others thought it was simply a visual masterpiece.
Some were spiritually moved by the message of the film. I personally loved it, and walked away especially inspired by the way the Na’vi (translates to ‘the people’) greeted each other. There was no too-cool “hey, what’s up?”. No texting. No emailing. No blogging. Not even a “Tweet”.
No. They would look each other straight in the eyes and say, “I see you”. Such a simple phrase that cuts so incredibly deep.
I’ve found it terribly easy to fall into a place of judgment when I’m not comfortable with someone. You know, the people who have “wronged” you. The people who act as competition. And the people who you just don’t understand – so you fear them. This article is about those people. And how to really “see” them.
Ex-lovers and ex-lovers of our current love are a popular flavor in this category. Unfortunately, many relationships end in turmoil, and instead of dealing with emotions, we tailspin into a mason jar full of spite that we marinate in for way too long.
Think of yourself as a chili pepper that’s been wallowing in pungent vinegar for several days. Then imagine the expression on someone’s face as they bite into you. Yup. Intense. Squinty eyes. Likely some tears. Maybe the sweats. And probably an emergency trip to the bathroom. Seriously unpleasant stuff.
It’s the effects of poison. The poison that we let invade our veins when we don’t deal with pain from a past relationship. The real kicker is that in order to deal with this buried crap, we need to not point the finger and blame, but rather see ourselves in the other person. As tough as it might be to swallow, we need to move into a place of gratitude. Gratitude that they helped illuminate our own demons – and if we’re willing and wise, showed us how to move past them. Now, when I say, “see yourself in your ex who lied to you, cheated on you, manipulated, stole your favorite pillow and tried to keep the dog”, I’m not saying see those specific things in yourself, or you’ll just start an emotional pillow fight in your mind. Rather, look into and even beyond the culprit’s eyes. And see what deep-seeded pain is causing them to behave in that way.
We all have deep roots. Some roots feed us amazing support and nutrients that aid us in growth. Other roots get tangled in old memories, broken hearts and heavy baggage, weighing the entire plant down. Take a moment to explore both kinds of roots. Be grateful for the supportive ones and continue to nurture them through breath, yoga, friendship and love. Then explore the darker side. Focus on the courage it takes to pull the shovel out and dig deep, so you can find the source of pain and judgment. Once you’ve seen that source in yourself, notice where the person who has “wronged” you might be experiencing the same pain. We all have different ways of dealing with our demons, which is why we practice yoga to find a balance between
both styles of roots. And if you really pay attention, look and listen, you’ll realize we’re all on the same path. You’ll see that we all stem from the same roots.
We all have joy. We all have pain. We’re all the same in the end. When you take this approach to truly see yourself in another person, you’ll realize that you don’t have anger for them as much as you have sympathy. So the next time you find yourself lunging towards judgment, just take a deep breath. And stop. See them. Look past their eyes and see yourself. And remember to always move from a place of compassion.
Then go get your prized pillow back. Whap them good. Tell them they can’t have the freakin’ dog. Give them a hug. Take a huge exhale of relief and exit happily.
And know that we are all connected.
Kathryn is a lover and teacher of yoga by day, a wizard in the kitchen by dinner time and a professional dog snuggler at night.