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Write Off the People You Love if They Can’t Behave Properly
Jim: Dear Jane, when I responded with such intensity I did not mean that the analysis of your dysfunctional thinking was the only way I see you. If it was I would not have wasted my time cultivating a relationship with you. We have been friends for more than ten years. You have many fine, attractive qualities and I love you dearly for them. What I meant was that basically I see you as a dissatisfied person, someone lacking in gratitude. You have been given so much by life, yet you suffer very much emotionally. If you had an appreciation of God and the many blessings you have been granted you would be a serene and confident person. You have been taken care of so nicely, yet all you can do is worry about what you don’t have or are about to lose.
You told me several times that your father had spoiled your mother. I wonder if because you identified with your mother so much you unconsciously picked up the idea that life should pamper you, take care of every little thing to your undying satisfaction. But as you are well aware, life does has not read the Gospel according to Saint Jane and evidently has not been informed of your inalienable right to have what you want the way you want it when you want it. It more or less goes on blithely ignorant of the wonder that is Jane Grecco. This is true for everyone. So if we want to be content it is up to us appreciate what we have been given.
The way you interpreted that email I forwarded is a case in point. It is a small thing, but it reveals a lot. There was a positive way to read it. But your mind immediately turned it into a negative. There is nothing wrong with Eckhart Tolle’s book. And Eckhart is a good person, but his book is just a nursery primer.
If you had seriously got into the spiritual world instead of just dabbling, you would have a better appreciation of the limitations of his contribution. It is not bad, mind you. It is just very superficial, good for Oprah and her housewives and not much more. But it is good in the sense that it suggests that there is more to life than we think, that we are not our minds, etc. In that email the man was grateful to Eckhart because it set him up for something better. In any case if Eckhart’s ideas and his “pain body” teaching was so effective, why hasn’t it transformed your vision? Why do you continue to be continually plagued with bad feelings? The last time I visited, his book was sitting on the shelf collecting dust along with all the other New-Agey books.
In addition to a lack of gratitude, I believe (based on my observations of you and your own words) your emotions torment you because you are not doing what you know is right for yourself. You are not nurturing yourself properly. You have plenty of excuses but the fact is that you would rather religiously watch Desperate Housewives which, incidentally, is a testament to the superficiality and bad values (yes, I know it is satirical) that you deplore or run off to some equally superficial social function than sit and meditate or read scripture or in other positive ways tend your fledgling spiritual desire. Given your spiritual nature, if you don’t do the right thing you will not feel good about yourself. You do not feel good about yourself. Occasionally you do, but your vasanas are always waiting in the wings ready to step on stage and rain on your parade, to mix metaphors.
You will love yourself properly when you do what your heart knows is right. It is not right to pander to your fears and desires. And when you love yourself properly you will love others properly, which means you will be sensitive to their feelings. You have not shown an excessive sensitivity to my feelings. Either you are very stupid or you have some kind of problem with men, but I have not been bashful in expressing my love. Maybe you forgot what love is. I did not want to teach you anything, although I could have definitely been of service to you spiritually – if you were interested, which, let’s be honest, you never were. You paid lip service to the idea, but in fact we never had a proper satsang unless our friendship hit a snag. I just wanted you to appreciate my love. I cannot believe how many times you went right ahead with some kind of criticism of me and my big ego when you knew better. I generally let it slide out of sentimentality. I felt sorry for you because you were suffering and could not control yourself. I don’t feel sorry for you anymore. You have feathered your own nest, Jane. And now you are sitting in it. I know you don’t like yourself and what your mind has done to you, and I am writing this to help you understand. It is the last time I will say a word about it.
I do not want to see you until your view of life – which stresses the negative over the positive – changes. You said that it was unrealistic for me to expect that people always be upbeat when they talk to me. It may be, Jane, but you are the only one of my dear friends who is so lacking in culture that you cannot keep your negative thoughts to yourself. If they have to be said, cultivated people take the person by the hand and express them in such a way that they are not disturbing.
We went through this before, but it seems lost on you that everybody has an upside and a downside and everyone’s feelings about the same object changes from positive to negative and back from time to time. But a cultured person knows that you should only offer your opinion when it is solicited. This is what manners are all about. I know you think I am a deluded, arrogant person – it is fine with me – and we get along quite well in spite of it – but I do not want to hear it over and over. Not only does it smack of superiority, it is unkind. I have my bad thoughts about you too but I keep them to myself, until today. Well, they did come out many years ago, but we got beyond that. I know very well that you did not solicit my opinion on the topic of the wonder that is Jane, but in a way you did. The problem with you is that you do not know when to stop. You cannot control yourself. And my unfortunate letter to you is the response. Before I wrote it I thought that I should just swallow my irritation to keep the peace but I am fed up having a judgmental, self-righteous person in my life. You are insulting and you are not afraid to attack someone who loves you without good reason. I must say, however, that I don’t think you are really conscious of what you are doing and the consequences of your actions, although maybe you are. My first impulse is to give you the benefit of the doubt but at the bottom of your letter you said something to the effect that you hoped I wouldn’t take offense. This makes me think that you knew it was offensive, but you went ahead anyway. We had the same problem a few weeks back. It is a bad pattern and it will not continue, because I am out of here.
When I said that you have no faith in God, I meant that you cannot see that this is a benign universe. This life is God. That is the meaning of non-duality. It is a beautiful thing. You are looked after from womb to tomb. Yes, God delivers experience on the basis of your past actions – it is an impersonal force – but this is an opportunity for rejoicing, not weeping and anger and anxiety. I do not know what it is going to take for you to get the right idea about life, Jane. I don’t know what you think about me, but the reason I am always happy and positive, the reason life slides along as if on greased wheels, the reason I am loved and respected by many, is not because of some imagined spiritual attainment. It is simply because I appreciate fully the bounty I have been given in life. I really do know that God loves me. I have much more cause for worry than you do, but I don’t worry. I hate to say this – and please forgive me – but I think you are exceedingly vain, Jane. You have been to India and seen how it is for the bulk of the world’s people, and you, who have been born with a silver spoon in your mouth, waste your precious emotional energy feeling sorry for yourself. Life asks you to make a small sacrifice and it torments you day and night. It says let go, and you hang on more tightly. It doesn’t give you what you want, as soon as you want it, when you want it – and you get all worked up? The reason I call it vanity is because you know very well how life is, but you refuse to accept it. Somehow you are so vain that you think it should be different the next time. No wonder you suffer. Some say this is the definition of insanity.
Okay, I have said my bit. I am not going to contact you again. I am not angry. I am a little disappointed, but I am not surprised that it worked out this way. Perhaps my vanity is that I thought that my happiness and my love for you would make a difference in the way you see things. But this has been my problem – which is not really a problem – all along throughout my life. It is a nice problem to have. You are free to contact me but only when and if there has been some major change in your attitude, not toward me (I know you love me in your own way), but in your attitude toward yourself and life. You deserve better – from yourself. I don’t want our relationship to end, but it is pointless to associate with dissatisfied people. I insist on getting what I give.
~ Good luck and much love, Jim