“Letting go of taking things personally” is an experiment based on an idea from Eileen. Taking things personally is something that we all do, and at times it really clouds our sense of peace, our relations to others and everyone’s quality of life. ” is a practical course in 5 parts, looking at the most important elements of taking things personally, with some exercises to put in practice.
In the first part we explored the process of taking things personally – which is basically the the same mechanism as egoic conditioning. Learning from the instinctual ability of our physical body to protect itself from hazard, the “egoic mind” has a habit of copying this process and applying it not only to real danger, but also to defend the idea it has of itself.
Whether you avoid an obstacle on the road or you avoid a confrontation with your own truth – both will cause a stress reaction. The difference is that in the first example the resistance will drop and balance will be restored after a few seconds, the latter may be the cause for a chronic stress reaction – or continuing resistance to accepting reality.
So taking things personally is the voice of the ego, because it actually IS the ego, trying to protect itself from being revealed as what it is – an illusion. Think about like this – when you avoid an obstacle on the road, it is a real situation and you have to act quickly, to prevent yourself and others from taking damage. But what is the “real thing” behind what is perceived as a personal failure, a verbal insult or unfair decision, that we react to personally with precisely the same full body-mind response, that we engage to duck a collision ?
Of course, it is one thing to know that – but quite another to let go of the addiction to protecting a false image of ourselves. The ego is too smart to allow us to out-smart it with it’s own tricks – so we have to look for something else.
When we explore taking things personally, we inevitably have to look at our habit of naming, labeling and judging. This is the cognitive function that initiates an egoic conditioned reaction (like taking things personally), and unravelling the mystery of it, we have to become fully aware of our own part in it. This is the new earth way of dealing with our reactivity – not by trying to control the situation or reactivity, to avoid or defend – but by seeing it for what it is and accepting that it is there.
So for the ego to take something “personal”, it first has to recognize and assess something as “dangerous” or ” unsettling”. This is the process of judgement and I can only judge something based on my own internal value system of “good” and “bad”, “right” or “wrong”, and I will of course seek to avoid anything that is perceived as negative. This may happen very fast and mostly unconsciously. So the only way to reveal the false judgements of the own ego, is to observe how we judge other people or situations. Observe how you are approaching others – is it in the all embracing openness of trust or is it guarded by fear. Observe your thoughts AND your bodily reaction when you are approaching another person, or a situation. Experience how we are making our mind up, long before we even open our mouth and understand how you do that. There is really no benefit to know why you mentally categorize the people you are dealing with – just know that you are doing it. You need to understand that it is our judgements about others, that is creating the basis for dealing with each other. There will be people we feel superior to, and tehy may make us feel good – and then there are others that make us feel inferior – and they make us feel bad.
Both is taking things personally, because this is the ego dividing friend from foe.
The following exercise will help you to understand judgement as the basis for taking things personally.
- Cleaning out the attic (room4truth.com)