I tend to be somewhat cautiously silent when it comes to defending myself. Which I feel has been a natural consequence of seeing the depth of Life’s cosmic mirror.
Said, not as an expectation of what one should or should not do, but said as an invitation to see the power in silence or in non-reaction. Inspired by a recent conversation where another wasn’t seeing or hearing “me,” but rather was seeing their own fear with regards to their own personal journey.
Have you ever noticed this? Sometimes, when another person might attack you, what’s really happening is that they are freaking out within themselves and pointing it in your general direction.
A great example of this would be if someone verbally attacked you over your skin color, or some other form of discrimination. How silly it would be to defend the color of your skin. Clearly, their freakout isn’t really about skin color; they are seeing something challenging within themselves and are finding it quite difficult and scary to look at.
What I recognize in this, is that any defense of my skin color completely misses the real issue of what’s happening. Defense would be to take it personally, thinking it’s really about me. Ultimately, only to exhaust myself with a (fearful) defensive energy that eventually shows itself as a violent energy.
This silence I’m speaking of, in many cases will look like a weakness on the surface. “How can you just let them say these things about you!” Actually though, it’s a profound love that holds space for the other person to see their own delusion (innocent misunderstanding). For of course, if you anxiously defend, you empower and strengthen their attack; it gives validity to the absurdity that their attack is really about skin color. It is not.
Thus is the sacrifice of one’s ego, so that their brother (or sister) might be saved through seeing their error in perception. “Love thy enemies.”
Also, in line with this insight is another profound recognition. What I see in my experience, in almost all cases, in order to defend you have to also attack. To defend yourself, you have to in someways tear down another person.
For example… someone says something about me that’s not true, in order to defend I might attack by calling them a lier. Even though on the worldly surface it might appear true, that they are lying, deep down there are other unseen elements at play. Also to mention, my defense would be, predominantly, if not entirely, motivated by ego preservation; protecting that which isn’t even real (an idea of myself) to begin with.
It can be quite the rude awakening within one’s self to see the violence that comes with defending your ego. To the point where… (and I say this so incredibly gently) what you accuse others as doing to you is something you are actually doing to them (or more accurately, to yourself). Only to discover that life is a cosmic mirror that shows you… You.
So easy we can say… “that person is so unkind” as you see them with unkind eyes. “That person only thinks about themselves” while you wish they would think about you, which… is you thinking about you. “That person is manipulative” which is you secretly trying to get something from them. “That person is a narcissist,” not realizing it can be quite narcissistic to call someone a narcissist. “That person is so controlling,” says someone trying to control.
Only in silence can we see the depth of these reflections; forever they will remain unseen if we trust in our projections, our blame, and our fearful need to protect an imagined ego. All is innocent though, again, no judgment for yesterday’s judgment. All is already forgiven in the grace of silence.
In this, I find a gentle and silent bow; a deep listening that allows for it all to be heard, and for all to say whatever it is they want to say. No judgment for what they see, and no need to tell them they are wrong. Maybe, if anything at all, a gentle “Thank you, and I love you, and I’m sorry for the misunderstanding”