Sunday, August 29, 2021

Ahimsa: Agreeing to Disagree








Solomon 2:8-13

The voice of my beloved!
Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Look, there he stands
behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
looking through the lattice.
My beloved speaks and says to me:
"Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away."

James 1:19-21 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

Mark 7:14-15 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”

Sometimes the best any of us can do is agree to disagree.  In the excerpts from this week's scripture reading above we find a call to listen and not speak, and without anger. To be meek in all of this. We are reminded that the things that come out of us are what can defile. And all of this starts with a great reminder to love, this reminder to love touched me so much that I selected it to be read at my wedding 38 years ago. The other two passages do reflect the nature of communication within a marriage.  You won't always agree, but listen and learn, then slowly speak.  Reactive fighting accomplishes nothing.  This can be widened out for use in all our communication.  To me is summed by the idea of responding not reacting, as discussed in the Tara Brach Video below. Her three invitations guide me away from anger often: “1. Please don’t believe your thoughts, 2. Please pause and come back to presence, 3. Please remember love.”

It is very hard to live in a world where members of one family can all have different opinions about the issues of the day. But if we can find a way to always remember love even though we disagree then we can still find our way back to family or friendship.  In the heat of the moment though it is easy to feel powerless to find a road to navigate. “Feeling powerless leads to outward aggression in the form of frustration and anger, or withdrawal inward into depression and victimization. We fear our own power and we often feel trapped at our sense of powerlessness. By powerless, I mean those times we feel like we’ve run out of choices. We’ve run out of options and we are feeling totally incompetent to deal with the challenge at hand. At these times, we may feel like a caged animal, trapped and ready to spring. Whether we respond with anger, withdrawal, frustration, or resignation, there is a way in which our mind shuts down, as if we are riding a train through a dark tunnel and we can’t see anything but darkness and anxiety.

Ahimsa, or nonviolence, invites us to question the feeling of powerlessness rather than accept it. When we feel powerless, we have forgotten how much choice we really have. We have a choice to take action and we have a choice to change the story we are telling ourselves about our powerlessness. Instead of sulking in the feeling of powerlessness, we can ask, “What do I need to do right now to feel competent to handle this situation?” During these times, we can also jumpstart ourselves by remembering past times when we successfully handled a challenging situation while remaining loving and whole and then trying to find that feeling.

I have found three ways of thinking that shift me out of a feeling of powerlessness: practicing gratitude, trust in the moment, and thinking about others.” (Adele) All three of these ways are expressed in the Song of Solomon or in the three invitations.

To all those I may have been reactive to in the past, instead of responsive, I am profoundly sorry.



Adele, Deborah. The Yamas & Niyamas : Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice, Created from berry on 2021-08-29 19:16:16.

Photo from Wedding Program for Beth and Terry Hughes



No comments:

Post a Comment