Leaving the proverbial door unanswered: True love is freedom, not slavery. You needn't obey the knock nor the knocker.
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- Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
- The admin formerly known as Scott
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Leaving the proverbial door unanswered: True love is freedom, not slavery. You needn't obey the knock nor the knocker.
It's easier to practice unconditional love and unconditional forgiveness when you also set and enforce healthy boundaries, both emotional and otherwise.
My book talks a lot about self-responsibility, self-determination, and self-discipline. Self-responsibility means freedom, and so putting these ideas into practice in interpersonal relationships (both with your so-called others in time and your so-called others in space), means understanding and respecting the boundaries between your freedom and theirs, between your choices and theirs, between your proverbial backyard and theirs, between what it means to clean your backyard first and only versus trespassing on theirs or letting them trespass on yours.
My book says that even a rabid dog deserves unconditional love and forgiveness.
Indeed. Nonetheless, you can unconditionally love and emotionally forgive a rabid dog without letting it bite you.
In fact, it's easier to do all three. That is, to love, forgive, and defend (i.e. enforce your boundaries). Granted, 'defend' in this case might be as simple as not sticking your hand in the dog's mouth. You might be surprised how often humans do the exact equivalent of sticking their hand in a rabid dog's mouth. Much of human suffering is the equivalent of a person punching themself right in the face for what appears to be no sensible at all, almost as if out of boredom. Humans struggle to not do something stupid when doing nothing is the alternative. That is one important reason my book says, and I quote, "Do less, better."
Sometimes self-responsible true love means leaving the door unanswered when the one we would otherwise enable comes knocking. Many times the best thing to do is nothing.
Yet, many humans would rather feed themselves piece by piece to a rabid dog than do nothing. It's a sort of an irrational addiction to doing. "I gotta do something about this," they might say to themselves as they chop off their finger and throw it at the rabid dog.
One of the most dangerous and destructive illusions that people use to rationalize choosing to be unhappy (i.e. choosing to sacrifice their inner peace) is the illusion that you need to do something, anything. It's to be gullible enough to believe the feeling you might have that says there is something--you don't know what exactly yet but something--that you have to do. It's a common symptom of taking responsibility for things that aren't your responsibility. It's a symptom of trying to do something you know you cannot do. To fix something that's not yours to fix, and in that way isn't in need of fixing. It's a perception of dirtiness in a neighbor's backyard. When asked literally or by circumstance, "Hurry, tell me what are you going to about it?!", the one lacking inner peace seems to forget that they can answer, "nothing", and typically don't even need to utter the word, but rather speak it with your passive stubborn lazy peace. Let your peace speak for itself.
You don't even need to answer the door.
A way to suffer and create problems for yourself, which are in a sense unnecessary suffering and problems, is when you imagine you must choose between (1) letting yourself (or others) be trampled versus (2) letting go of your unconditional love for the beloved. It's a false dichotomy to say the least. You don't have to do either. On this, you can have your cake and eat it too. You can love the drug-addicted child while refusing to answer the door and give them money when they come knocking. You can love the rabid dog and still put it down. You can love the violently mentally ill psychotic person while still having them committed to a mental hospital, a jail of sorts.
Once we stop worrying about the conditions upon which we will love, there's so much less to worry about.
Worrying is a type of doing and people who are addicted to doing (i.e. hyperactive productivity addicts) tend to desperately rush to answer that question, "What are you going to do about it?!"
Even if they have and are aware they have the choice to not worry about it, they may unduly feel ashamed to lazily and happily choose to not worry about it, to not take worry and take responsibility for their neighbor's backyard.
Your brain is a great computer and tool, but you don't have to keep it running on overdrive 24/7 to save the world. The world is fine. Worry about yourself, and then you will have no worries, because what would be yours to resent or worry about is yours to control as you see fit. You don't need to worry about your proverbial backyard being dirty or being not how you like it because you can clean it and make it how you want it to be. It's yours. Rearrange the deck chairs however you like. The exhausting seemingly unavoidable worrying comes in when you start worrying about your neighbor's proverbial backyard, meaning what you don't control. It's when you go past self-responsibility and start infringing and trespassing on the self-responsibility (a.k.a. freedom) of others. Let others worry about others; you worry about only your own proverbial backyard, and then there's nothing to worry about.
Let your mind rest. Let your thoughts slow. If you have an inner monologue happening in your brain, take time to stop listening to the words you hear, and instead listen to the silence between those words. Let that inner monologue be like that teacher from Charlie Brown. Just a vague quiet womp womp in the distance. If you can slow those words and thoughts down, stretch them out and stretch the pauses between each word. Focus on the silence between the words. Realize that even when the words coverup that silence, the silence is still behind those covers, and is much realer, more permanent, and more stable than the covers. The thoughts are like clouds floating by, but the silence is like the sky itself. Always there. Sometimes a little cloudy, sometimes very cloudy, sometimes frighteningly dark and stormy and loud and chaotic, sometimes all clear, but always there, and always beautiful and infinitely interesting and infinitely peaceful. If paying attention to the loud stormy clouds troubles you, then pay attention to the unchanging infinitely peaceful sky behind them as the clouds float by.
When you fill a would-be empty space with stuff, the space is still there. Your mind's thoughts are the stuff. Even when thoughts crowd up the space, note that the space is still there. The blue sky and shining sun are still there behind the clouds. Focus on that space for a bit. Are you now focusing on that empty space in your mind and spirit; are you listening to the silence that is always behind the noise? Then you are now, in a way, focusing on nothing, and focusing on nothing is a very helpful hack for learning what's it like to not focus on something, to not focus on anything, at least for a little bit, to let your mind reset, to re-center yourself, your true self, to re-find yourself, your true self.
Perhaps copy, paste, and print out the previous two paragraphs. If you ever find yourself feeling a sense of inner chaos, if you ever lose sight of your true self or your inner peace, take some time to read them slowly again so that they may help you re-find yourself, your true self, and re-find the corresponding inner peace that is always there for you, no matter where or when your body happens to go be in the outer world. The innerness that you're finding, and taking peaceful rest within, is in a meaningful way simply yourself, your true self, the real you, the part of you that is one with all, it's that thing that is identical the real me and the real us and the real everything. It's that stable uniting singular essence behind and shared by all these dancing forms. It's the nakedness under the proverbial clothes, and that's why you can always find it so infinitely easily no matter what clothes you happen to be wearing or seeing.
You can call this inner peace an inner space if you prefer, and remember that the space is always there even when it's filled with stuff. There's a sense in which even when the space isn't empty the inherent emptiness of the space itself is still there. In terms of the real you, you are that spaciousness and omnipresent unchanging emptiness. It's always with you because it is you, the real you.
When a space is too crowded and cluttered, you feel like you can't organize or clean it because you can't move in it, and you can't move anything in it. Everything's bumped up next to something and tightly jammed in-between things and covered in things.
In your mind, and even in your literal calendar, to-do list, and daily agenda, this overcrowding is typically a symptom of non-freedom (a.k.a. spiritual slavery) and failing to value the role that empty space plays in efficiency and inner peace. Another way to describe inner peace is simply as an inner spiritual spaciousness, with a corresponding appreciation of that space. Of course, it's not a literal physical space. The 'inner' in inner peace doesn't refer to something literally physically inside. But that's why it's so powerful and empowering. It's like a 5th dimension of that gives you infinite even when in real life physical life space (a.k.a. the "outer world") things are chaotic and tight and crowded. You can bury me in the ground with no casket just dirt covering my body and face, with nothing but a long straw poking out so I can breath, and leave me there for hours or days, and I will still have this vast infinitely roomy inner spaciousness that is a source of infinite inner peace. You can fill up the finite limited empty physical space around my body, but you cannot force me to give up the vast spaciousness that is the source of my inner peace. It's like a 5th dimension that your scalpels, swords, and guns can't reach. Nobody can force someone to have inner peace, and nobody can take it away from someone who chooses to have it.
If your mind and time is filled to the brim and stuffed to capacity, you don't need to replace one worry with another. You can instead remove one worry and just leave it at that, thereby leaving an empty space where that worry was. That spaciousness left behind is, in a way, a form of inner peace itself. It is in itself a type of freedom for you. It makes it easier for you to move things around and relax and clean up and enjoy the open fresh air in this proverbial 5th dimension that is your inner world. You can learn to see and appreciate and find that space even when it's filled with stuff, because the space is still there even when it's filled with stuff and even when the stuff otherwise seems to be blocking your view of the space it fills. Granted, it certainly is easier to see that space, that spaciousness, that beautiful peaceful omnipresent transcendental emptiness, when you remove a thought or worry or task or project from your mind or list or calendar but don't replace it. It's easier to see and feel and appreciate and find solace in the space you always have within you when there's not so much stuff in it in the way.
Once we stop clouding our mind with the illusion that we must hate others to protect ourselves, we can see so much more clearly. And from clarity and inner peace comes competence, confidence, and grace.
Sometimes the most loving kind thing to do for all involved, including yourself, is leave the proverbial door unanswered.
True love is freedom, not slavery.
As one who loves, you need neither obey the knock nor the knocker.
Sacrificing your inner peace (a.k.a. true happiness) for another is like making your backyard dirty in a futile attempt to clean your neighbor's yard when your neighbor is dead set on having a dirty backyard. You just infringe their freedom while giving up yours. You just make things dirtier by trying someone else's backyard instead of focusing solely on your own, and respecting your freedom (a.k.a. self-responsibility) and theirs.
Whatever it is, if doing it won't make you happy and/or keep you happy right now in your unique present, meaning in the sense of the real true happiness that is consistent unwavering invincible free-spirited inner peace and unconditional love, then don't do it. In other words, if doing it would cost you your inner peace (a.k.a. true happiness) don't do it. Because not only will doing it make you unhappy, but doing it isn't even the loving thing to do.
In addition to having authored his book, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program, both for the free option and the paid option.
"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."
I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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