Deep down most of us know that it is not what happens outside that shapes us so much as our inner responses. There is an ancient African proverb that tells when we have no enemy within, no enemy without can really harm us. Really? Not even a great white shark? But seriously, can this be true, even in dire times and places?
“This is my secret, said Krishnamurti, a modern Indian sage believed to be awakened. “I don’t mind what happens.”I do mind, and I believe you should mind too. We should not aim to be indifferent to outer circumstances. We should not strive to imitate the inner states of those who have claimed to be fully awakened. No! We should protest abuse and inhumane conditions and help alleviate such things. And still, we can have no inner enemies. Having no enemies within means embracing ourselves as we are, accepting the whole of our humanity, even when we are sad or raging.
Having no enemies within means having no abandoned children in our consciousness, no feelings or aspects or behaviors to be locked away or denied. We practice meditation not for spiritual bypass but to learn to see without judgment. We practice to be able to draw close enough and be steady enough to see that anger can cover grief—that often we get angry as a way to do something in situations that are out of control. Over time, if we look with kind eyes, we glimpse that anger can be shot through with compassion—helpless, childish compassion but still. We can experience within it a wild creative impulse that can be reclaimed.
Sometime, when you are relaxed and it occurs to you, see what is revealed when we accept what we see within, even the difficult thoughts and emotions. Notice how acceptance—allowing ourselves to be as we are without judgment—calms and settles us down. It also allows us to open to others.
May all children everywhere, inner and outer, find refuge and be met with compassion.