MT HOOD, OR—My client hated what I had done for him with the forums. His words, “I thought I laid out exactly what I wanted in my email of 5 July 2014. I was surprised when it was completely different.”
Now in the course of just 10 days, I wrote thousands of lines of code, a completely functional forum framework and of the 30 features he had requested, completed or addressed 27 of them.
I was surprised when it was completely different.
Over a month’s worth of work done in less than a third of the time, and only three tasks that didn’t meet with his standards and he saw it as a reason to criticize and an abject failure.
In spirituality, there are two common techniques for dealing with aggressive or disagreeable behavior. There’s the Old Testament method of an eye-for-an-eye, and the New Testament method of turn the other cheek.
An eye-for-an-eye promotes escalation and violence.
Turning the other cheek promotes dominance and abuse.
Of course, modern psychology goes beyond these two extremes with many other methods of conflict resolution, but I’m talking about this from a spiritual perspective.
My technique is a combination of the Old and the New: I bite back to let the aggressor know I’m not some spiritual dishrag, then I ease off, open up and play nice… but keep an eye open for further abuse. That’s not passive aggressive—that’s yang then yin. If the pattern continues (and in the nearly two decades I’ve worked with him, this perfectionist attitude is a pattern), then I will often make simple rules or agreements with myself to act as both subtle corrective measures and personal rewards, ie: “I’ll only work on his projects when I feel like working on them.” If things get better, I relax those restrictions.
In order for this technique to work though, you have to be willing to live as a Soul—you can’t be attached to the outcome, you can’t be thinking this is all very serious and important (as a Soul, you live forever and a simple disagreement is nothing in the context of an infinite lifetime). With this technique, either the relationship will fade into oblivion or they will learn to adjust their behavior when dealing with you.
When you could care less if you live or die (ie: you live as a Soul), then neither dominant nor abusive personalities will have any hold over you. Threats or coercion (whether voiced or implied) lose their power. It is as simple as that.
In this way, living as a Soul (yang/active) acts as an elegant counter balance to the acceptance and surrender of Radiance (yin/passive).
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