Invitation #7 – Friend vs. Stranger
Chapter 8: Being In The Now
You Have Chosen to Remember: A Journey of Self-Awareness, Peace of Mind and Joy by James Blanchard Cisneros.
Allow me to offer you a way to live more peacefully in the moment. Try looking at a brother you have never met and instead of calling him a stranger, call him a friend. Instead of judging him for what he looks like, wears, does, acts or reacts, or who he seems to be, simply look at this stranger and know him as a friend, as God’s child. Outwardly, you might consider this possibility and say, “big deal, what could changing one word and seeing a stranger as a friend possibly do?” I will share with you that this simple act would completely change your world. You might say that there is “no way that such a small shift could completely change my world.” For on a foggy day not so long ago, I also verbalized these same thoughts. But today I invite you to give your heart honestly to this effort for just one moment in time.
This invitation will only be as difficult to accept as the denseness of the fog that surrounds the memory of who your brother or sister truly is. I know that while lost in the fog you have been confused and afraid. But the time has finally come when you will notice the twinkle of the lighthouse on the horizon. Congratulate yourself and know that it is showing itself now not because it is burning brighter, but because you have come to a place on your journey that allows you enough clarity to see. The light was there before the fog and it will be there long afterwards. It has brought many a lost ship safely home. And just as the people on these ships thanked God when they saw the light, so too will you one day breathe a sigh of relief and thank God for such a blessing.
The ego has taught us to call our brother or sister a stranger. The ego has taught us that when we first look at a brother or sister, we must immediately judge something about him or her. The ego does not explain why it has us react in such a manner. Yet we are trained so that our first reaction is not to question its motive, but to think like it thinks, and react the way it has taught us to react. The ego wants us to acknowledge it as our one confidant, the only one we can truly count on and trust. The ego will use words, it will use thoughts, it will use actions and reactions, judgments and blame. Its tools are as limitless as the illusions and the results they produce.
My friend, with one thought or action unlike that of the ego, the fog will begin to lift. Just as thinking with the ego-self produces confusion, judgment, separation and regret, so too does thinking with the Godself produce clarity, peace of mind, unity and joy. A moment is coming when you will look at the being the ego calls a total stranger and you will see him or her as God’s child. The ego will defend itself against this perceived attack to its “reality” by saying that this is no big deal. But I offer you that this is the beginning of the end of the ego’s grip on your perception of reality. As soon as you do this once with a completely open, love-filled heart and mind, the fog will immediately begin to lift. Simply lay your eyes on a brother or sister who in the past you would have immediately judged as a stranger, and see him or her as God’s perfect creation.
Seeing your brother without judgment, with a completely open, love-filled heart and mind will fill you with so much compassion, love and joy that you will never again consciously choose to see another brother any other way. You will be so grateful for being able to see him as he truly is that you will look forward to doing this every day. Imagine the hundreds of judgments you will no longer need to support, digest and carry with you – simply because you are seeing your brother as he truly is. Imagine how much lighter and at peace you will feel. This is what your brother offers you each and every time you are gifted with his presence. This is the gift your brother and sister offer you every time you set your eyes upon them and simply see them as they truly are. The more you do this, the clearer your days will become. Day by day the fog will continue to lift, and as it does, clarity will begin to surround your every thought. You will quickly develop deep gratitude and respect for all your brothers and sisters. And as you do, the lines that separate your physical selves will begin to dissolve, merging into a oneness that is new to you, yet somehow quite familiar. As you continue to spend more time during the day remembering and acknowledging this oneness, the ego’s attempts to have you fear and separate from your brother or sister will diminish, until one day the ego completely dissolves into the nothingness from which it came.
In Kahlil Gibran’s book “Jesus the Son of Man,” Kahlil discusses the concept that the “stranger” you see is much more like you than you realize, and the more understanding you receive, the more these so-called differences or barriers fall. Gibran explains this concept using an example of Peter’s recollection of Jesus talking to him. Jesus says:
26 Your neighbor is your other self dwelling behind a wall. In understanding, all walls shall fall down. Who knows but that your neighbor is your better self, wearing another body? See that you love him as you would love yourself. He too is the manifestation of the Most High, whom you do not know. Your neighbor is a field where the springs of your hope walk in their green garments, and where the winters of your desire dream of snowy heights. I would have you love your neighbor even as I have loved you.”
Then I asked Him saying, “How can I love a neighbor who loves me not, and who covets my property? One who would steal my possessions?”
And He answered, “When you are plowing and your manservant is sowing the seed behind you, would you stop and look backward and put to flight a sparrow feeding upon a few of your seeds? Should you do this, you were not worthy of the riches of your harvest.”
When Jesus had said this, I was ashamed and was silent. But I was not in fear, for He smiled upon me.
26. Kahlil Gibran, Jesus the Son of Man: His Words and His Deeds as Told and Recorded By Those Who Knew Him, Copyright 1995 (Knopf).
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