On the spiritual path, we become extremely sensitive. We reach a point where we feel everything. Every thought and emotion of every being rushes through us. With over 7 billion people here on this tiny rock called Earth – and most of them suffering – you can imagine why it’s tempting to hide.
The strategy of hiding and avoidance works in the beginning. We can become very adept at using our sensitivity to scope out a room or a restaurant and choose not to go there if it feels too heavy. We limit our adventures to only the most serene and peaceful environments. Until we become accustom to our sensitivity, this is a smart move. Otherwise, we can easily become overwhelmed and chewed up by the thousands of sensations and feel like we’ve gone crazy.
Once we stabilize, and we learn how to maneuver in the world, then it’s time to step outside of our comfort zone. If we continue the avoidance behavior, we’ll become stuck and our spiritual development will stop.
Along with our practice of meditation and mindfulness, we can cultivate certain qualities to get ourselves unstuck and moving towards our highest potential. The easiest of these is quite ordinary, and we often forget it is a high spiritual quality: friendliness.
Friendliness is an inherent trait. We already have it within us, but years of conditioning coupled with the sensitivity we feel from opening to the deeper layers of our being cause us to shut down. The good news is we always have access to it – all we have to do is let it out to play. But in order to play, we must interact with the world.
Friendliness connects us with others. A smile shared among strangers breaks down the walls of ego conditioning and reminds us we are the same beneath all the stories.
When we feel the rush of sensations, we can temper the uncontrollability of it by concentrating on opening to friendliness. Instead of retreating into our mind, we can approach those around us with a sense of pleasantness and sociability. We do not need to offer anything other than our full presence.
In that moment of connection, of friendliness, we forget about how sensitive we are and all that we are feeling. Instead we experience the infinite moment of eternity reflected in the eyes of another being.
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