This is the third part of ‘Eight Verses of Thought transformation.’ In this blog, I discuss verses 5 and 6.
5. When others, out of jealousy,
Mistreat me with abuse, slander and so on,
I will practice accepting defeat
And offering the victory to them.
Usually, we would never accept defeat or offer victory to others, because from a very young age we have been taught to stick up for ourselves and fight back. If we did, people would look upon us as cowards.
Accepting defeat and offering the victory to others doesn’t mean that when somebody abuses us we must accept it – of course we don’t. We can protect ourselves, but we try to do so without anger or a feeling of revenge. We protect ourselves by using the minimum amount of force possible.
We love to have the last word, but when we accept defeat we do not need to. We don’t feel the need to prove ourselves, or try and make others understand that we are right and the other person is wrong. We let go of the ego’s incessant wish to prove itself.
People can be jealous for a variety of reasons, not just because of our belongings, looks or wealth. Our mind knows no limits and can become jealous of anything. Just look at the things you get jealous about. It is truly astounding how petty they can be.
If people verbally abuse us by saying mean things to us, talk about us behind our back, try to ruin our reputation, spread rumours about us to other people or generally gossip about us, instead of going out of our way to prove that person wrong, we simply drop the issue. When people gossip about us, we drop it. The more we start gossiping about them and try to prove our case, the more fuel we add to the fire.
There are certain situations when we do need to explain ourselves to the person who is spreading false stories about us. Sometimes these stories cause a lot of negativity and mislead others. In these situations, we need to go to the person and explain what actually happened. This is not done because we are attached to our reputation, but with concern for the person spreading the rumours and the people having to listen to them. There are times when we must explain things, but we do so without blaming or causing offence to the other person.
If somebody spreads false stories or even true ones about us, and we become angry, upset or condescending, then mentally we need to “accept defeat,” because it is just our ego that dislikes having a bad reputation. We need to let go of our attachment to reputation and the need for approval. We are not letting ourselves become a ‘doormat’ for everyone to walk over. We are just keeping our ego in check. If a situation arises where we do need to explain in order to clear the air, we do it out of compassion for others.
6. When someone I have benefited
And in whom I have placed great trust
Hurts me very badly,
I will practice seeing that person as my supreme teacher.
When someone we have benefited, who has been our friend, whom we’ve trusted, turns around and does something to hurt us, it is extremely painful.
When people we’ve trusted steal our belongings, criticise us, break off a relationship, talk behind our back or stop loving us, we need to see them as our teacher and not an enemy. We don’t have much to learn from someone who is making us happy. We already know how to smile, laugh and enjoy ourselves. But someone who has hurt us, disturbed our mind or made others think bad about us, they are the ones we can learn from, they are our teachers.
What are they teaching us? How to abandon our expectations. How to build compassion for others. Letting go of clinging to a solid image of somebody else. They teach us patience that gives others the space to make mistakes. They are teaching us to recognise how imperfect the world is. They are showing us our own self-centredness. They are making us face our demons and teaching us how to let those ego-driven demons go. They truly are our supreme teacher.
I will discuss the final two verses in the next blog.
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