By Judith Pennington
Several years ago, during an interview with Bernie Siegel on
precognitive intuition and the role it plays in his life, this distinguished
doctor and bestselling author recounted a story about a patient who
criticized him for his anger. Siegel responded, "I was angry because of what
I had to do to you."
"But you took it out on me!" the man insisted.
Siegel, a loving and sensitive person, saw the truth in this and changed his
behavior. Years later, he read a line of poetry by Rumi: Your criticism
polishes my mirror. "When I heard that," Siegel exclaimed, "it was like 'Oh,
thank you! Now I know why they're all trying to make me
better. It isn't that I'm a terrible person. They're trying to help
And so it is for each of us, as the people in our lives hold up reflective
mirrors enabling us to see who we really are. The problem is, as Bernie
Siegel pointed out, most of us don't take kindly to criticism. The
self-defensive ego, a hero in its own mind, typically rejects criticism and
stirs up negative emotions that close our minds to truths which could be
larger than our own. At other times the ego, in disarray, absorbs undue or
untrue criticism that becomes a less-than-useful way of relating to life.
What, then, is a body to do?
Science and spirit tell us that the body is to sit still and relax when the
mind is confused. The mind quiets itself and consciousness listens for the
still, small voice of the soul. We draw from this deeper well of knowing to
get clear on the truth of a person or situation, because the only cure for
ego’s well-meaning grip on our perceptions is disarmament through
meditation, positive thinking and wholeness affirmations. These create in us
the calm, peaceful mind of transcendence, in which we are attached to
nothing of the ego and only to the mind of the soul. It is this higher mind
which sees clearly by staying open and receptive to wise, loving guidance of
I've been listening to a wonderful discussion of how emotion influences
consciousness, on a CD set, "Destructive Emotions," by author Daniel Goleman.
It's a detailed report on a Mind and Life Institute gathering in which the
Dalai Lama of Tibet met with some of the world's foremost researchers on the
effects of and antidotes to our destructive emotions (a staggering 84,000 of
which have been catalogued by Buddhist philosophy). Scientists are
confirming that negative emotions like anger, fear and depression alter
physical structures in our brains so that we are quite literally unable
to know the difference between fact and fiction: e.g., we get so mad and
filled with aversion that we "see red" or "can't see straight."
Conversely, love really is blind to the truth about our objects of
attraction and affection. Somewhere between the eyes and ears, the brain
dumps this undesirable information, I suspect because the appreciative,
energized heart, according to The HeartMath Institute (heartmath.org), emits
a vibration that is 60 times stronger (within the body) than the power of
our brain waves!
What a wonderful challenge and how critical it becomes for us to master even
our most subtle emotions and moods, in order for our thinking mind and
five senses to accurately perceive and interpret information. Otherwise, we
live in emotional delusion and reality distortion. So we have a choice
between truth or fiction. If we choose to see truth we must accept that this
is not easy to do, yet work toward it by mastering our thoughts and feelings
in the hope of a consensus reality that will lead us and our world to peace.
I am reminded of the Snow White fairytale, in which the wicked queen
mirror, on the wall/Who's the fairest of us all?" and a sepulchral voice
intones, "Snow White." This response so infuriates the queen's obsessive
vanity that she dresses as a ragged beggar to give a poison apple to Snow
What if, instead, the queen had searched in her mirror for the perfect,
radiant beauty of her soul? If, within the mind of her soul, she'd heard the
voice of an inner critic, she could have allowed her higher self to remind
her that we are all souls on a journey, none better and none less than
I see us living happily ever after in this adventure called life. Each step
of our soul journey rids us of negative emotions like self-blame, guilt and
shame, the worst distorters of all, so that eventually we love, honor and
respect ourselves; attune to the still, small voice of the soul; and shift
to the perspective of love. Through these eyes we see every person and event
as a teacher and readily discern what is true and what is not. We are no
longer pushed by pain, but pulled by vision.
When our mirrors grow cloudy, it is easy to polish them. We bring into our
minds our joyful memories of love, and love carries us into Spirit's realm
of transcendence. Ego and its hazy illusions vanish because we now see in a
new and better way. Through these eyes, on a clear day, we can see into
Judith Pennington is a writer, spiritual teacher and author of a
compelling personal story of transformation, The Voice of the Soul: A Journey
into Wisdom and the Physics of God. She gives talks, presents workshops, and
publishes books and CDs through Eagle Life Communications, an educational
outreach for personal and planetary evolution. Sign up for her free monthly
e-newsletter at www.eaglelife.com,
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