“An expanded experience will never happen until an expanded consciousness precedes it.” – Raymond Charles Barker
This weeks questions lay the groundwork for a deeper level of appreciation of yourself and others. The things that we respond to most intensely in others have a great deal to teach us about ourselves. You might say this gut reaction is a gift from the universe. Whenever you are strongly drawn to be with or avoid a particular individual there is something to discover about who we are. We are never disturbed in this way for the reasons that we think we are. The separation or attachment it creates is an illusion. This is your chance to move beyond these impulses.
1) Identify and list the relationships that are most important to you.
a. For each person on your list, write down everything you appreciate and admire. It could be physical characteristics, personality traits, behaviors, or achievements.
b. Things that you really like about others often provide insight into the ways in which we would also like to express ourselves. From your list, which items do you want to do or learn to do?
2) In contrast, things that we dislike about others can provide insight into aspects of ourselves that we need to work on or that we have disowned. It could be boundaries that we need to strengthen, behaviors that are missing from our self expression. Either way, it is potential that is untapped.
a. For each person on your list, write down something that you don’t like.
b. In each case, identify how this irritation provides you with an opportunity for growth?
3) Expand your list to include people you don’t actually know such as celebrities, or authors, or other people in the public eye who you actively follow or avoid.
a. What specifically do you love or hate about them?
b. What does this tell you about the personal qualities you would like to embrace?
The questions in this week’s exercise benefit you with insight into the aspects of yourself that you would most like to develop. It also reveals those aspects that you would most like to come to terms with and shift from shadow to strength. Strong reactions to others reveal a great deal about how we would like to present ourselves as well as the ways in which we can be more compassionate. Every aspect of personality is contained within us and those around us. This step teaches us to be patient with ourselves and others as well as giving us an indication of the areas of growth that are challenging for us but stand to bring us most joy.