Saturday, March 20, 2010

Who is it that you see?

Launching right into it today...Chew on this crunchy little thought: We don't see things the way they are, we see things the way we are. If you'll hang on with me here for about a minute, I know I will have convinced you of this if you are a skeptic. Here's a modern day parable to help you.
Pulling into Athens for the first time, a stranger stops out by the BP on the edge of town and asks the attendant, "What kind of people will I find here in Athens?"
Turning it back on the stranger, the attendant posed this, "Well what kind of people did you find where you came from?" The stranger quickly informed the man, "Oh where I come from, the people are all so negative and selfish and hateful."
Looking him face on, the attendant answered, "Well, that's exactly the kind of person you will find here too." The stranger's expectations were confirmed: more bad people ahead.
Fifteen minutes later, another newcomer stopped at the same BP station. The same line of questions followed between them as well. When asked what kinds of people the newcomer should expect to find in Athens, the attendant queried,"What kind of people did you find where you are coming from?" Quick as a flash, the newcomer stranger rose in his chest and said, "Oh where I come from, gosh those people are the kindest people on the earth. I never met one that was not generous and thoughtful and kind." A smile crept over the attendant's face. He agreed, "Well, that's exactly the kind of person you will find here too. Generous and thoughtful and kind."
Don't we mostly find what we're looking for? If we look for the good, we see the good. If we look for the negative, guess what ends up sitting in our laps?
But, sometimes it's just so darn hard. So, here's my big fat spiritual question:
Do we need to love ourselves first--like love all the yucky stuff in ourselves--before we can love that same yuck in somebody else? All of the voices in my head say, "YES." Now don't go falling off into the deep end and thinking this is just hogwash. It's not. It's for real. You wanna know what you really believe about your very own self? Just listen to the criticisms that come out of your mouth about another person. Change the pronouns from he/she/they and use I/Me/Mine. Do it all day today. Write it down if you need to. Just change the pronouns for one day. See what you come up with by the end of the day.
1. She is so fat (ugly, stupid, spoiled, mean, jealous, arrogant.)
2. He gets on my nerves because he is so boring ( aloof, sarcastic, conceited.)
(Homework: Just change the pronouns for one day. Report back to class tomorrow.)
When most people look at Taylor, they see slanted eyes, a protruding tongue, slumpy shoulders, and a life that would be voted off the island in round one if this were a game show. What do you think they really see when they look back towards themselves? Remember that when we point our finger at somebody else, there are always three pointing back towards ourselves. (Do it now. Try it. See?) But for the wise of heart, for those who see the divine in all living things, Taylor is just a little guy learning to live this life along with the rest of us. He just happens to be 25 and thinks Free Willy is the whale's full name. Anything wrong with that?
I am hearing a version of this quote floating around in my head right about now, "I have met the enemy and he is....I/Me."
What if we did that whole "Let peace begin with me" thing (join hands now and sway) and changed the quote to, "I have met the friend and that friend is"?
Change those pronouns just for today.
If you've forgotten what pronouns are....that's not good.
But's here's help: I love you. Love is an active verb. The other words are subject and object pronouns. We each gotta work on being both the subject and the object of that verb.
So that when you see me, you love me and you.
Just practice today. I'll have handouts tomorrow.