My name’s Andrew. My question is, if you could please retrace the situation of pure Awareness in the face of injustice, or someone being obnoxious, or a workplace bullying situation, assuming that John Smith is playing King Lear, but with full awareness that he is still John Smith.
If we find our self in a situation such as you describe, where we’re witnessing obnoxious behaviour, unjust behaviour, unkind behaviour, bullying in the workplace, dishonesty…
The outrage that we feel, doesn’t arise on behalf of a separate self.
The outrage that we feel arises on behalf of the love and intelligence that is inherent in pure Awareness.
So, sometimes people –I’m not suggesting this of you– sometimes people misunderstand the Non-dual teaching, and presume that, imagine that if one were fully established in one’s true nature, one would witness a circumstance such as this, and just smile peacefully, and blandly, and not have any response.
Well, that is one possibility. It’s true, that we may simply not get involved.
But it is by no means the only conclusion that would express the Non-dual understanding. We are just as likely to feel a sense of outrage –to a greater or lesser extent– because we feel that something that is absolutely true, is being violated.
For instance, someone being bullied would be an example of that; the understanding that we share our being, that we are the same as the other, is being violated in this act of violence from one person to another. And the outrage that we feel in the face of this behaviour, doesn’t arise on behalf of a personal self who is being diminished or undermined by the situation. On the contrary, the separate self is not present in our reaction; our reaction comes from love, and intelligence, and the sense of shared being. So, our outrage in that situation would be a practical response that comes from our Non-dual understanding. But it is a practical response tailored to a very particular situation.
How we express that outrage, varies both from person to person and from situation to situation. Some people… Ahm… You may try, to begin with, to reason with the person concerned… If reason doesn’t work, you may increase the volume (if plain reason is not sufficient to make them see the error in their behaviour); you may have to increase the volume or the intensity of your response, to such an extent (going to the other end of the spectrum now), very occasionally, force may be necessary. That would be an extreme situation, obviously. It’s unlikely to require physical force, though it may do, but it’s more likely to require verbal force, to begin with, and depending on the response you get… So you tailor your response to the situation.
So what is important is not our actual response,
but where our response comes from;
on whose behalf does our outrage arise.
Is it arising from the sense of a personal self who feels
diminished, or insulted, or disrespected, or ignored…
These would be personal emotions; emotions that arise on behalf of a
personal self who feels that they are not being valued as they should be.
Those are personal feelings.
And if those personal feelings arise,
instead of addressing the one that seems to trigger those feelings, we should
immediately turn around and address the self who feels diminished by them.
But in the case that you give…
outrage is not arising on behalf of a self that has been disrespected or ignored,
your outrage is arising on behalf of love and intelligence, and it should be fully expressed, however you as an individual bodymind feel is appropriate in the situation.
So, it may include… supporting someone to address the workplace issues…
… or, if necessary, seeking legal support…
Absolutely; all of the above; yes.
Yes. So at a very practical level…
Yes. And very practical, and… although the…
your feeling of outrage comes from the same place always,
you feel that something that is absolutely true, universally true,
has been violated, or is being violated, by this person in this situation,
nevertheless the way you express that outrage, could vary enormously,
depending on the situation.
And that is where your sensitivity
and your knowledge of the situation
is required to enable you to respond
And which, as you say, may include legal advice; it may involve an intervention with the person; you may decide not to intervene with the person, but go to their superior, or their employer… All sorts of… all sorts of… ahm…
There are many, many possibilities, but they would all be an expression of this same feeling that something fundamentally true, universally true, for all people, at all times, is being violated.
And it is your… your intervention in the situation as a bodymind…
You stand, at that moment,
or for love;
or for justice.
And you don’t take…
Your action is not based on a personal sense of a self.
Your personal self just…
You’re not aware of your personal self.
You are just acting as required; in the situation.
With no sense of the consequences for you as a person.
I don’t mean by that, that you would
put yourself in physical danger,
but you’re not thinking of yourself.
You’re thinking of bringing
love and justice and intelligence
to bear in this situation.
Rupert Spira transcribed by Leon Hieros