by Giridhari Das With Harlley Alvez
Contributing Author, Conscious Reminder
People will do things to you, directly or indirectly, that you do not like. So, how should we respond to this? Don’t think you need to educate the aggressor. This is a classic mistake!
And it’s a disaster. For one thing, the person attacking you is not even thinking straight. Adrenalin is coursing through their veins, their amygdala is taking over from the cortex, and they’re basically acting like a beast. In this state, no one can learn anything. Further, the person is attacking you.
At that moment, they’re hating or despising you. They are certainly NOT seeing you as a teacher, as a superior who can grant them wisdom. Whatever you say, no matter how brilliant, wise or incisive, will be interpreted merely as an attack, adding fuel to the fire.
Don’t return the aggression or pass it forward. The last thing you want to do is to lower your consciousness to the level of the aggressor. They’re suffering, and you’ll suffer more if you react in darkness. Hurting others is very painful for the doer, and, in terms of good sense and karma, you’ll just be setting yourself up for more of the same in the future. You will have failed the test, and be forced to go through it again.
The low-consciousness response to this is to get angry, get revenge, or cultivate some form of hatred toward the agent of your adversity. But this response just amplifies your suffering. Responding to hatred with hatred perpetuates the hatred.
Even externally, this will bring more adversity to your life in the form of negative consequences of your hatred. For example, if your neighbor dumps trash on your yard and then you dump trash on his yard, he will get angry and come up with another way to annoy you. Then you will get angry for that and come up with another way to get him back, and it will never end.
We see this going on in the Middle East: violence being met with violence, which then causes more violence – a cycle of increasing violence. The result is hell on earth with no end in sight. Gang warfare follows the same twisted pattern. Everyone loses. The inevitable adversities of life often come in the form of someone else’s action. From accidently stepping on your toes to outright brutal physical aggression.
On one level we need justice and to preserve our well-being. If someone commits a crime or hurts you, steps should be taken. If it’s serious, civil authorities might get involved. And you should try to take practical steps to prevent the incident from recurring. On the surface, you should do what has to be done to keep yourself and others out of harm’s way.
But inside, you have to adopt a different attitude. Whatever happened was meant to happen. It’s your new challenge. You should not waste time with lamentation or anger, much less feeling like a victim. You should simply accept the event, be grateful for the challenge, trust that it’s for your growth and ultimate benefit, and deal with it in high consciousness, acting in karma-yoga. You should choose not to suffer, but instead to seek enlightenment.
We get fooled because we fool ourselves first. Whenever you mistake your real identity and value things which are not true to you, you end up being fooled by others. Being greedy, or lusty, or just wanting recognition and social status, leads people to act in ways which are detrimental to themselves.
So, get real. Be true to yourself. Find out what your values are and stick to them. Ask WHY. This is the path of dharma, so important in yoga.
About the Author: I was born in Prague in 1969 as Gustavo Dauster, the son of a Brazilian diplomat. My name is Giridhari Das, or Giri for short. I am a self-help and spiritual teacher, author, and speaker. I have been practicing bhakti-yoga, the yoga of devotion, and working with self-development for over 20 years. I believe we can improve ourselves with a transformative process to meet and transcend the challenges of life in the 21st Century, based on the knowledge of yoga found in both ancient Sanskrit texts and the latest research in the fields of positive psychology and neuroscience. The focus of my teaching is the 3T Path, a systematic, modern presentation of the ancient path of self-improvement and self-realization in yoga and Krishna consciousness. I developed the 3T Path after many years of dedicated study and practice, to share my experience and realizations in bhakti, and to address the needs and challenges of people today.