“Who do you love in this world with whom you have little or no conflict?” This is the third question of the Simple Path that I have been writing about for the past two weeks. Please see the three preceeding posts for background.
With whatever language is most natural for you, in whatever setting is the right context to have a thoughtful and serious conversation, ask those you love for their candid feedback.”Tell me of any requests you have of me that you feel I am ignoring or responding to with a half-hearted effort?” “Are there any ways you feel I am disrespecting you or taking you for granted?” “Have I neglected to truly apologize for any wrongs or petty slights I have done to you?”
This is not to imply that all of the feedback youmay receive is of equal value.
Some of the requests others may make of you may not be reasonable. Some of the insights and feedback others may give to you may not be accurate or on point. It may take time and careful reflection to sort out what feedback to respond to compared to that which may simply need to be set aside. But with care and sincerity these discernments can be made.
Also, the point of beginning with those people with whom you are closest and have the least conflict is that the feedback you get will tend to be the most clear and the least challenging. Still, there may be small points, and some points that are not so small, that are blocks or stuck points in the relationships.
Demonstrating a sincere willingness to listen and an equally sincere willingness to change where change is needed will dissolve those minor blocks and stuck points, for every relationship has them. The result will be more trust and a truly equal sharing of power in the relationship. The channel between you and these other people will be that much more open, and more love and regard will be able to flow between the two of you in this widening and brightening channel.
It is simple, there is so much more that is possible with love and mortal relationships than most of us are presently able to see or access.
And isn’t it amazing? All that is needed to see how much more is possible is to truly listen to those you love and to make sincere efforts to change one’s behaviors according to the reasonable requests they make of you.
Working carefully with the relationships where there is little in the way of conflict will give you the strength and clarity of intuition to proceed to work on those relationships where there are perhaps moderate levels of conflict. From there you can proceed to any relationships where there is little or no love, and then to those where there may be high degrees of frustration or resentment.
But a real problem exists for many people. That problem is this: there is very little love in the relationships they have and very few people they are close to.
Taking the time to see if this is the case is a good beginning to at least understand what is missing from your life. From that vantage point you can see how valuable it would be to learn how to find new and creative ways to improve the quality of the relationships you do have.
Others have a more difficult problem. All ,or almost all, of their primary relationships are riddled with high degrees of conflict and frustration.
However full, or desicated, or conflicted your relationships may be, each of us have more relationships in our life than we are aware. Whatever may be the case in your life, start with the relationships where there is the least conflict whether it is the cashier at the local grocery store or the person in your 12 step or church group you hardly ever speak to, or your spouse of many years. See if you can offer those people a kind word or gesture or the simple act of silently respecting them when you are in their presence. See if you can do this if you happen to think of them during meditation before you return to your breath of sacred word.
See if you can offer this kind word or silent respect towards yourself as well.
See what blooms from this garden.
See how simple acts of respect and kindness can change the world.
Will Raymond Author of “The Simple Path of Holiness” Host of MeditationPractice.com.