I was sitting with a friend at a restaurant and overheard a conversation being held at an adjacent table. The individuals were looking around the restaurant and criticizing their fellow patrons. They complained about people being too large, disgustingly scruffy, and overly unattractive. My friend and I found it difficult to enjoy our orders with such negativity at our backs. In an effort to vacate the hostile environment in the most expedient manner,  I threw back my smoothie as my friend practically drank her salad. We stepped into the bright sun and made our way to a park, thankful for the fresh air.

We walked for about an hour, discussing the experience we had recently escaped. After a bit of debate, we agreed that our unwitting participation in the situation reflected as much on us as it reflected on the complaining patrons. The mere fact that we judged the complainers as rude or negative showed that we were  guilty of the same act, albeit in a seemingly different manner. How would a person with awareness have handled the situation differently?  Would she ask herself the question, “If I were that person, with all her experiences and traumas, would I be sitting there acting in exactly the same manner?” Were those people criticizing others because of deep and hidden pain?  Or more likely, did their conversation reflect their own inability to love and value themselves?  Then, on my own more personally disturbing note, I asked, “Did their uncomfortable conversation act as a flashlight to shine the light on my own lack of understanding or acceptance of myself?”

After all, if I were totally loving toward myself, wouldn’t my every action and thought reflect that unconditional love?

Therefore, I thank those two individuals for being my teachers. Their willingness to participate in that moment, in that exact way, has assisted me on my journey toward love. Hopefully, they too have assisted you on your own journey, through reading this post.

It is my belief that when one of us becomes more loving, the world shifts and creates more room for that which is sacred, harmonious, joyful, and beautiful.

Blessings to you and my teachers.

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