On Receiving Criticism

Is it possible to hear honest feedback, criticism, even insult, and find a place of deep acceptance in any response that emerges for you in the moment? Is it possible to remain fully grounded in the unshakeable knowing that who you really are doesn’t need defending in any way? And then, staying radically open to experience, is it possible to even find a nugget of truth in what they are saying, to find the place where you see eye to eye, even if that admission results in momentary humiliation, groundlessness, and destruction of the image of the one you believed you were?

This doesn’t mean that you become passive and weak. Not at all. You simply stop identifying as ‘victim’ or ‘the hurt one’, and therefore you stop seeing the other as ‘abuser’ or ‘enemy’, and you simply remain open, vast and unlimited, the infinite capacity for all of life, for all thought and sensation and sound and feeling.

If you feel momentarily hurt by what someone says to you, perhaps there is some truth in what they are trying to say. It’s far too easy to hide behind the protective wall of “It’s all your projection!” or “There’s nobody here” or “You can’t touch me because I am pure awareness!”. What the hell are we protecting?

In the midst of conflict, is it possible to discover the place where conflict ceases to be conflict at all, where humiliation becomes humility, and wake up to a love beyond reason, the love that you already are, and have always been?

Yes, every human relationship is a constant invitation to let go, to wake up, to die to the unreal, to lose every false image of yourself, including the image that you have no image. Your mother, your father, your friends, your lovers, your co-workers, strangers on the bus, everyone you will ever meet – here are your ultimate teachers, your final gurus. Listen to them, for they will only ever show you the truth of yourself.

Beyond awakening, beyond enlightenment, this adventure of human connection is only just beginning.