The Chain of Reactivity
As one cultivates more and more of the levels of the strudel, then one sees the whole level of interpersonal relationships as just one level. When I first started to awaken, I would come home to visit my family and my father would say to me, “Do you have a job?”
He didn’t ask me if I was the Buddha, or if I was enlightened. I would get very angry at him because he had caught me in a place where he made the plane real, and I said, “I cannot stay around my family, they bring me down.” Later when I would come home more strong in my faith and inner connections. My father would ask me the same questions, and I would, in the quietness of my being, appreciate his concern and the worldview that he held without becoming reactive, and so my response would not be reactive, and it responded instead to the deeper connection that we had, and it would open the dialogue in a new way.
It is up to the most conscious person in the situation to break the chain of reactivity.
Difficult Not To Be Reactive
This is our work in the world. We are all living in incredibly reactive webs. If you push against it, it still has you. The art is to be in them, but not reactive to them. You can stay in a marriage in which your partner is not interested in what you value. And begin to work with that vehicle for your own awakening by shifting your awareness from that of judging mind to that of an appreciating one. You will see that certain relationships have so much symbolic power for you, it’s very difficult for you not to be reactive.
Somebody that is very sexually attractive to you, or somebody that is very powerful, or somebody that has a lot of money. Or if you are afraid of aging, somebody that is very old. Or if you are afraid of dying, someone who is dying. If you are strongly identified with your body, somebody who has a deformity.
I want you to be able to look at the people around you as the teachings that you need.
Karma Yoga as a Way to Work With Reactivity
Helping my father through the final years of his life became an incredible teaching for me. I went from being very righteous about what a good person I was to be helping my father. To realizing what an incredible gift I was receiving from him. He had changed my diapers, and now I was changing his. He had fed me and now I fed him. And because I had no feeling of the unnaturalness of it, we both went through this process with joy.
It is extraordinary to be with a human being and go through changing relationships of power; to meet the person behind that and then just watch these changes in the relationship. The work of cultivating these many planes of consciousness means that you are always available to another human being, behind their storyline.
You don’t demand they give up their storyline, but you are present if they wish to.