SOME QUESTIONS FROM a friend. “How do you just quit being jealous? How do you just quit being angry? “
It took me just forty years to quit. I found that when I was left by one I loved, or when I was angry, the same thing happened in my mind, always the same words: You’re frightened. You’re going to lose something! Protect it!
After slipping into protecting without thinking, decade after decade, I decided that I didn’t like feeling jealousy and anger. Finally I asked, feeling helpless, “Well, what am I going to lose?
“I’ll lose her, is what!” I said.
“Oh?” Another voice in my mind, my high spiritual self. “Can you answer my questions?”
“Of course I’ll answer. I’m jealous and angry, but I’ll answer if you don’t require a page to listen.”
“You can take ten, but three is a third better.”
“Thank you,” and it paused. “Do you love her?”
“Silly spirit! Of course I love her. I wouldn’t be with her if I…”
“You don’t have to explain. The answer is enough. Next question. Do you want her to be happy?”
“Sill… yes! I want her to be…”
“Third question: Do you trust her to make her own decisions about her happiness?”
A short silence. “I do.”
“What?” I said.
“Are you jealous now?”
I love her, I thought. I want her to be happy. Of course I trust her to make her own decisions.
If I don’t love her, I can be jealous (but why would I want to be with her if I didn’t love her?)
If I don’t want her to be happy I can be jealous (but do I want her to stay with me when I don’t want her happy?)
If I don’t trust her, I can be jealous (but why would I want to love someone whose choices I don’t like?)
“Well, of course I’m still…” Where was that feeling that was twisting my heart? “…well, of course…” It was gone! “What did you do with my jeal… Oh. Thank you.”
Three questions my spirit self had asked. Any No told me that I didn’t want to be close to one I thought I loved. All Yesses told me whatever she decides to do about her happiness is what I want for her, too. If I’m happy for her to be with another guy, and she can be with me when she wants to be.
(Historical footnote: I found in my heart, that I didn’t really like all her choices. Jealousy gone. Romantic relationship gone.)
Those three questions have worked for me: one, two, three; ever since. No jealousy since.
Anger? Can one just decide not to be angry? Can one decide not to be afraid? Isn’t anger always fear? If I’m not frightened, I cannot be angry. Same question the minute a conflict arises: I’m afraid! I’m going to lose something! Protect it!
How do I protect, I said, what do I do…
“Don’t do anything,” said the spirit. “We do without a word, no fear, no anger required. You can disappear, you can resist, you can choose swords, all so calm. But for anger, for fear, you need words.”
Words. “Without words, I’ll lose this discussion, the argument,” my protoanger self ssaid, “and everyone will think he won! And don’t you see? He’s saying that he’s right about evil spirits and I know there’s no such thing…he’ll win unless I say something aggressive and powerful!”
“What am I going to lose?” the spirit said. “Nothing. An argument doesn’t prevail in words, it prevails in your own inner decisions.”
How had I been dragged into a land of words, I thought, a place I had no reason to be! Move to my own land:
“You may be right.” And all at once there was nothing to be angry about. He may be right. Not in my heart, but in his.
“Richard,” the spirit tested me. “What if he says, ‘You’re a prince of the devil, you’re a demon, because….’”
Stay on my own land.
“Could be,” I said. “I could be a demon.” No anger, a smile instead.
“Now he can say anything, he can say, ‘And you’re the Antichrist!’”
“Maybe so.” Words. When someone wants to win, let them win. I have my own ideas, others have theirs. I don’t need to convince anyone that what they think or what I think is right or it’s wrong.
When the Internet happened, there were words in long-term print, some true, some not…truths and lies. It was the same for me, just the same as for everyone chatted about on the Web. Why makes me think words told about me have to be true? It could be, from the printed words in Google, that the President of the United States is an alien, a reptilian from outer space. Well, why can’t I be an alien from the Pleiades or a daisy from the meadow? I don’t have to be angry for the President, or for me. Anything could be true, in other minds.
“So what if someone appears in my home out of the dark,” said my never-want-to-lose mortal mind, “and plans to kill me and my loved one and my puppy? Should I not be angry?”
“No anger required. No words, only action for the intruder,” said my advanced spiritual inner spirit, which I guess knows everything. “Just shoot ‘im.”