I am prompted to write this post by the current plight of a very dear friend of mine. The truncated version of events is as follows. I have known my friend for around seven years, and it seems that for approximately the last five of those, she has been incessantly and systematically bullied by her manager at work. It also seems that a couple of other people have stuck the knives in as well; if you’ll pardon the expression. The culmination of all this, is that roughly two months ago she phoned me on a Saturday evening in a bit of a state, and asked if she could come round. She arrived at around 7.45pm and did not leave until 3.45am. Seven hours of being absolutely in bits, pouring her heart out and telling me that it has got to the stage where she no longer wants to wake up in the morning. Finally, a couple of weeks back she resigned; having managed to find a suitable similar position with another employer. The situation has not been helped by her being in an abusive relationship with a man who also works for the same company, and who has seemingly (to an extent) been in cahoots with her tormentors. She managed to end the relationship around the same time she came to my house and poured her heart out; but she has since gone back to him. Phew!!!
So, what has all this got to do with carts and horses?
Nothing really, but I thought it would make a great analogy. If we think of the horse as the Self and the cart as a self-created burden (ego), it illustrates aptly how we as a species cause ourselves so much pain and suffering, simply by the fact that we have forgotten who we are. I can relate so much to my friend’s story because it is very similar to my own. As you can probably guess, I have tried my best to offer guidance, but my friend’s tunnel vision and “tumble dryer” mind are adamant they are not going to listen.
We blame external circumstances and other people (the cart), for the way we feel emotionally (the horse). However, the reality is that our external circumstances are a mirror of what’s going on inside us, and all too often we project our past experiences onto the present moment; thus creating our pain and misery. We forget that no other person is responsible for the way we feel. This is something I learned the hard way; which brings me onto forgiveness.
It will help us greatly if we can look at forgiveness from a different angle than we are used to. We tend to think that being forgiving means that we accept other people’s seemingly unfair behaviour towards us, or that we have to be tolerant of selfish or unreasonable behaviour. But forgiveness is the understanding that no one but our self is responsible for the way we feel. When something arises, we form a judgement based on past experience and project it onto the present moment. This produces an emotion, which we then “out-picture” as our reality, whilst at the same time remaining oblivious that we are creating this reality.
This concept is extremely difficult to grasp when you are experiencing the pain that my friend is currently experiencing. But the universe works in a very precise manner, and as I found out, once I accepted that I held the key, things started to change.
The horse gets by very well on its own; it doesn’t need the cart. But as long as we believe that things outside us are responsible for the way we feel inside, then the cart of ego will continue to torment us.
My dear friend, my heart goes out to you…
PS I’m now off to the Scottish Highlands, so I’ve posted a couple of pics here for your enjoyment. I hope to have some more for you on my return.