There is one thing I have been thinking about lately, Guy, and that is the amount of Indifference we are surrounded with. We all meet it every day; it is a part of the reality of the world we live in and our fight for survival. Now, everything has its counterpart, in this case Compassion and attunement, which I will come back to a bit later.
“The individual is capable of both great Compassion and great Indifference. He has it within his means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter.” Norman Cousins.
It is human evolution, isn’t it, Guy? I would go so far as to say that the amount of Indifference shows our level of maturity, as does our capability for Compassion! We do nourish the former with our level of Indifference, as we continue to live in the external world, completely unaware of our inner truth, and the only way to change this is to start being aware of it.
We learn about Indifference very early. As small children, all we want is to be together with our parents, but they don’t have the time to do so. Grownups have bills and mortgages to pay, they have jobs to go to, they have all these things they have to do, which don’t involve small children. This teaches us that we’re not that important, it teaches us that this is the way to behave in the world. It’s a part of growing up for every one of us, and it is a part of our challenge to grow.
We continue to learn about Indifference when we get older. It is “Us” and “Them”, it is separation, it creates a non-will to open up for the fact that maybe “They” aren’t that different at all. You grew up during the times of Apartheid, Guy, you experienced this in a completely different order than I did, growing up in peaceful Norway. Still it was, and still is, definitely a part of reality here, as it is all over the world! We learn that in order to reach our goals, we need to have the right education, earn the right amount of money, live in the right area, engage in politics, where we fight for the rights of those not so lucky, while we give them jobs as underpaid employees, as a part of our Indifference.
What about the Indifference of those who should have known better, like grownups watching children growing up in neglect, turning the other way, because it is not their call? Or just “knowing”, that this seemingly homeless person, sitting on the corner, begging for money, is a drug addict and a criminal.
There is a You-Tube clip circling in social medias right now, showing how family members get dressed up as homeless people in New York, begging for money, while another family members pass on the street, totally unaware of them. One is a much-loved wife; one is a dear sister and so on. None of the family members passing these beggars noticed that they were one of their loved ones!!
How is it that we have the capability to live with this Indifference? It is a normal human condition to feel empathy and sympathy; still it is like it is for specific parts and not for the whole.
Many years ago, Norway was involved in whale hunting, and the protests throughout the world were tremendous. People stepped over homeless people on their way to protests, to be a part of a larger whole that fought to save the whales. I have to say for myself I was happy when the wale hunting was over, still I remember I did not even think of the fact that in this case, the whales and the humans were in different boxes, one more worthy than the other! It was pointed out to me by a person way more mature than I was at that time, and I have never forgotten it! It was so true; it was a fight for a weak entity, on behalf of another weak entity. And it wasn’t mentioned at all…
I remember I felt embarrassed. In my earlier experiences in life, I had learnt to trust animals more than humans, and now I had to face the Indifference that choice had placed before me. It was one of all those possibilities we get during life, to start changing our reality, to start being aware of the fact that maybe our experiences were merely steps along our path to Enlightenment.
It is very difficult for our human brain to understand the whole. We are simply not that developed yet, for thousands of years we have lived in the fight for survival, not having any possibility to search for the truth inside. Back then it was our skills of living in Indifference, together with fear, which kept us alive. Now we look back and call them barbaric times, without understanding that it is still a matter of reality, only in another, more sophisticated form.
We are so quick to judge, aren’t we, Guy? We look up to people who have ‘made it’ in the world, we use them as mentors and examples of how to succeed, and still, if they make mistakes, we judge them for all it is worth! When we live in Indifference, this is the only way we can have our moment of glory, pointing out other people’s failures! And so many of us do that incessantly, not thinking of the fact that these people also have feelings, also only want to be loved and understood, and right now feel very bad.
What about our own personal history? All the times we experience Indifference from our parents, other family members, teachers, other pupils at school, colleagues at work… How many times have you thought back of this person, or persons, and felt judged, deciding they were the reason for your problems?
I have clients that for most of their life hold on to judgmental behaviour from other people, not being able to let go. As a reality they hold on to the role of being a victim and instead of going forward into a future they choose to consciously create for the better, they keep reading the same old chapter of life over and over, waiting for happiness to occur sometime in the future.
There is another side to this, and that is how we expect to be treated with Indifference. It creates an awareness of how other people trick us, how they appear to be nice and trustworthy, but we know better! We know that it is all a game, it is a jungle out there and we are not going to be the one ending up like victims! So we search for proof that the other person is a scam! And, as said so many times before, our brain gives us exactly what we ask for! That is another part of living in duality; there will always be an opposite way to experience things, created from our own level of consciousness and enlightenment.
I myself, experience this very often in my profession as a Kinesiologist. Here in Norway there is still skepticism of other treatments than those supported by science or medicine. We have a internet group right now, very eager to tell people that every single person that offers non-scientific treatments are beguilers, in fact not offering anything other than emptying your wallet. Yet the fact that 50% of all Norwegians have tried non-scientific treatments, and that information of the most common alternative healing practices now form part of medical education, only increases the work of medical practitioners!
The arguments from both sides are very unpleasant. In order to point out their point of view, it is very common to go for personal attacks on the other. I must admit I have added a comment or two to these debates, only to experience very personal attacks just a few minutes after putting my comment out there; not from one person, but from a lot of people, checking me out on internet and eager to put me down. It was like a shark attack and a very special experience.
The lack of respect for the wisdom of each and every one of us, the total Indifference to how increased consciousness gives us a completely different opportunity to make choices for our own good, in fact does result in these groups starting to lose followers. We are evolving much faster than before, we are more and more aware of the Indifference in the world, as we are getting more and more conscious.
Now I look forward to hearing what you will share of your wisdom with us, Guy, as to the importance of Language and Way of Being towards this. I find it very interesting that we live in completely opposite environments, yet I know that what you come up with here, is increased consciousness, not an old, restricted way of thinking.
Ah Kari, such an interesting topic—and as you say, one which is a critical aspect of our journey towards Enlightenment!
And it all has to do with our capacity to observe, together with becoming more conscious of our spheres of influence.
As I’ve said before, Language is one of the three fundamental aspects of our Way of Being (the other two are Body and Mood). Indifference is a state of cognitive blindness; we overlook a certain aspect of life, whilst focusing on another. Yet when we observe the term in our language, we become cognisant of it. Then we have a choice to make!
In most cases our Indifference takes form through habit. For example, Kari, your mention of the homeless people being side-stepped by people en-route to an anti-whaling demonstration, or people failing to recognise their family members as beggars. Very often we form a habit of avoiding these people, because they instill some kind of fear in us, that by interacting with them, we stoop to their level, or if we do give them money, they might ask for more.
Eventually that habit entrenches itself in our Way of Being to the degree that we become completely unaware of these people and their plight. We can deftly step over a homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk without giving them a second thought. Our Indifference comes as easily as breathing…
There’s a man though, who has for years frequented a particular traffic intersection near where I live, asking for money, and whom I think is very clever. He holds up these large cardboard signs, proclaiming his circumstances, but they are always brightly painted and decorated with glitter, attracting attention and, quite frankly, defying Indifference! He also changes these placards from time to time, so that the fresh change is noticed, and the wording is always cleverly put together.
I always try to give this man something, and when I have no loose change in the car, I feel somewhat guilty—even two blocks before I see him! So I apologise and he always smiles his acceptance and thanks me anyway. I often wonder about his story, because he’s actually quite an ingenious marketer. His attitude and tactics encourage Compassion, which we’ll cover in the second part of our discussion.
Indifference also has a cousin called Acquiescence, where one forms an opinion about something, yet purposefully withholds it. Today is voting day in South Africa and although the airwaves are full of excitement and anticipation, I have absolutely no interest in casting my vote. I make no excuses for what some might call a duty, but I prefer not to be involved in the constant tug-of-war for political domination.
I might hold an opinion, but choose to keep it to myself. I acquiesce. My vote goes to humanity, that we might continuously strive to raise our consciousness and address more pressing matters regarding our future as a species.
I tend to avoid street urchins, knowing that whatever money I might give them would go towards drugs of some sort (at least that’s what I tell myself). They will come up to car windows at traffic lights and beg and plead, whatever you say. If ignored long enough, they move off to the next car. So although I’m aware that they’re in desperate circumstances, I choose to be Indifferent for reasons I’ve just given. Again, this is acquiescence.
There’s a couple of domains where Indifference is a common factor throughout the world, and that’s government departments! I can almost sense the heads nodding in agreement, dear readers—even if you happen to be a government worker yourself! In fact, Indifference seems to have attached itself as the stigma defining government departments. We visit these places with trepidation, expecting long queues and couldn’t-care-less attitudes. And because, as Kari points out, we always get what we ask for, this is exactly what we’re faced with!
So, are these people really Indifferent, when they’re just doing their jobs, dealing with thousands of grumpy citizens each day? Well of course not! Just as one might say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too is the person perceived as being Indifferent. That’s just our interpretation, and in this case, a collective interpretation. Again, it’s a habitual and contagious assumption in language, generated by hundreds of years of expectation.
What we give definition to in our language is what we see, and what we see is what we get!
Indifference also manifests itself in relationships. I was discussing this with a friend recently—we were talking about those people who seem to have absolutely no concept of gratitude. They are unappreciative and can’t even simply say thank-you even when large favours are bestowed upon them.
People of this ilk are quite possibly not even aware that such a thing as Enlightenment exists. They are essentially Indifferent to everything, and in a relationship, this leads to major complications, especially when paired with someone with a much higher level of consciousness and a more abundant Way of Being.
This state of Indifference also seeps into relationships when both parties are unhappily involved, yet are inexplicably trapped in that space. I’ve experienced this in past relationships, where constant arguments and poor communication ultimately lead to complete Indifference from both sides.
Surely though, we cannot help but be indifferent about certain things? As you suggest, Kari, certain prevailing impulses tend to override others in their level of importance. Can we really be that aware? Well I maintain that as we explore our potential, as defined by our Way of Being, our conscious expands to accommodate a new language, with new interpretations… We begin to explore alternative and more positive observations of life.
So we arrive again at this word, Compassion, Kari. How do you associate the balance of choice, between Indifference and Compassion, with a change in consciousness for the betterment of us all?
Yes, Guy, let us talk about Compassion!
Compassion is a natural consequence of increased consciousness, as it is a state of balance and harmony, and not really a choice at all.
We have talked a lot about the importance of turning inward and getting more in touch with our own unique potential. I do believe, Guy, that during this process, it becomes more and more difficult to remain Indifferent.
Indifference is a result of fear and competition, a dualistic fight between good or bad, right or wrong, a part of the survival of the fittest.
Whenever I hear the word Compassion, I think of how we feel when we are in love! You know what No matter the circumstances there is this deep feeling of unconditional love, forgiveness, of being a part of each other’s energy. Nothing can make us give up on our loved one, no matter what it is. We feel the joy and the pain of the other and we stand there tall!
You know I am a lucky mother of four, Guy, and even if my children now are adults, there is nothing that will take away the unconditional love I feel for them. There have been ups and downs, like it always will be in life, the Compassion and attunement, the amount of forgiveness, the incredible love I feel for my children, will carry them and support them through life, as long as I’m here and also after I’m gone.
I do believe that Compassion is a natural state for a developed human being. In a way, human evolution can be compared to a single lifetime, where we start by trying to figure out the world as best we can, watching what ‘the others’ are doing; following and obeying the authorities. As we grow and mature, we slowly start to understand more and more, and at one point, we even start to disclose all the illusions we once created in our life.
What is it that old people talk about when they’re about to die? It is their loved ones, how they should have been there for them more, how the struggle for money and possessions was a totally false image of the real truth; that only love is real!
So where are we now in our evolution-process? I would say at about an age of six or seven, mature enough to understand that Santa isn’t real and the monster under the bed is a product of imagination.
Many of us have passed the marker, where fear of being condemned by a human-like, revengeful God held us in awe. And by the way, I mentioned the unconditional love I have for my children; is it possible that a God who is the true definition of unconditional love, would say to his children: “I love you more than you will ever understand, now go out into the world and live by my rules. Which, by the way, I don’t give you—you must find them for yourself. And if you don’t manage to find them, sorry, I have to condemn you forever.”
These are the illusions created by a three year old….
How can anything that is pure, unconditional love, create anything but love? Everything else is manmade, in a dualistic world, where there’s always something opposite and we flow back and forth between them. Yin-Yang, good-bad, night-day, Compassion-Indifference…
As we, as humanity, slowly go on figuring things out, as we go on in our process of growing up, we start to look back on our earlier times, finding thousands of years of war and battles, hunger, fear, pain and Indifference. We start to see that it did not solve anything at all! It simply pushed the power back and forth, always keeping man aware of his enemies, no real evolution at all, only the struggle to survive. Like a little child, growing up in a violent home.
Indifference is a protection, a shield when things get too tough; Compassion comes when we let the shields down. When we are mature enough and brave enough to say: “I love you! I don’t understand your choices, but I respect them. You are the creator in your life, I honour you for your power of creation!”
Sometimes we need to take a step back, which is also a matter of Compassion. Like small children sometimes need to fall in order to learn how to walk, we have to let go. That is a very hard thing to do, when the shields of Indifference are removed, still it is the right thing to do. No matter how much Compassion we feel, no matter how much love we have, we can never do the job of growing up and maturing for another person.
Now, I look forward to hear your definition of Compassion, as an Ontological and Transformational Coach, Guy! You have had your experiences in life, and I know you have made some Compassioned choices for your self, in order to get the life you want. What can you tell us about that?
Oh Kari, it’s true that Compassion results as we embark upon our journey of self-discovery, and as we unfold our fullest potential in terms of our Way of Being! And I believe that Love, which represents Abundance, is at the very core of this process.
When we realise that being ‘in love’ with ourselves is one of the vital keys that unlock our potential and when we reach a certain level in the development of our consciousness, Compassion automatically replaces Indifference; Compassion for ourselves, as well as for others.
Indeed I’m grateful to say that I did reach this point, Kari, yet it was only after a very long battle with Scarcity, what I call “poor-me syndrome”, and many hard lessons! I cannot yet admit that I have quite reached the stage of having the life that I want, but what I can say is that being able to love myself, and accept myself, despite all my mistakes and characteristic foibles, has made it possible to believe it’s almost complete. I can proudly say, however, that I am now the Guy I want to Be!
I am able to give Love without condition or expectation, and that’s all that really matters—to me.
Many people believe they are able to love, or that they are ‘in love’, just as I once did. Yet if that love is given with any expected returns, then it’s just another illusion. It takes great Compassion, not only to give love, but to receive it as well.
As with Love, we should also be able to show our Compassion even to those who seemingly don’t deserve it. In fact, it’s these Indifferent and unkind people who need it the most, always fighting their own demons… There are countless instances, where a selfless act of Compassion has brought about monumental transformation in others. I’ll share an example with you:
A few years back, there was an Afrikaans farmer who had driven some six hundred or more kilometers to attend a three-day training programme with Pat Grove (one of my mentors) and hadn’t arrived in time to arrange his accommodation in Durban, prior to commencement of the first day’s training.
When training was over for the day, which ended late in the evening, he asked if anyone was prepared to accommodate him that night, as he had nowhere to stay. Of the twenty-odd people attending the programme, the only person who offered him a bed for the night was a young African man. Now you must recognise here, that historically in South Africa, people of these two cultures seldom saw eye-to-eye, and to a large degree still don’t.
So, notwithstanding his initial apprehension, the farmer went with the African man back to his home, which was a single-roomed dwelling in an informal settlement. As there was only one bed, the African man insisted that his guest sleep in his bed, which the farmer did with gratitude.
The outcome of this act of Compassion was that the farmer was humbled to the point of tears when he related the story to the group the following day. These two men formed a lifetime bond as a result, and the farmer truly understood the meaning of Love and Compassion for what they truly are. It’s unlikely that he would have learnt this lesson any other way.
What this beautiful story illustrates, is that Compassion can arise from the most unlikely of sources, and that being a Compassionate person doesn’t imply that you require material means to give it. Just Love!
There’s a lesson here, not only for South Africans, but for people of differing cultures across the world.
We are able to be Compassionate, without assuming that we, as individuals, need to be the saviour of all the homeless people, people living in poverty, stricken animals and so on. This is a physical impossibility. We are though, able to share our Compassionate energy with others, and when people of similar consciousness do so, then change begins to occur on a broader and broader scale.
Sharing plays a vital role in the manifestation of Compassion. All it takes is a smile and a few kind words, or an embrace—even the warmth of a handshake, and the powerful energy of Compassion touches another soul, and through them, yet another…
This sharing works both ways. Do you keep your troubles bottled up, or are you unable to share and unwilling to accept the helping hand of Compassion, because you’re too proud, or too afraid of being judged? If so, then it’s time to let go! Just let go of all those limiting beliefs and Indifferent thoughts, share your troubles and embrace change—welcome Love!
Now we’ve mentioned Gratitude many times throughout our conversations thus far, Kari, and it’s something I’d like to dedicate our next conversation to. Ingratitude vs Gratitude is something most people give very little consideration to, yet it represents the crucial difference as to whether we repel or attract Abundance into our Way of Being and into our life.
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