A couple of years ago a good friend reminded me of something very important—she said, “Susan, you need not take things so personally.” This conversation I took very deeply into my heart, because at this time, I made an issue out of anything, almost looking for an issue, which was a divisive way for the darkness to “get me” to believe that something was wrong with my life. Unconsciously, I was looking to make life miserable for myself and for those around me.  Recently I heard the saying, “Blessed are those who are flexible, for they don’t get bent out of shape.”

This is a subject that I’ve already mentioned in my past blogs somewhere, but I recently noticed that a friend of mine had had some difficulties with life events. She must have taken something so deeply into her heart, that she was feeling a lot of distress. I know that I have done the same thing before. I have endured so many wrong actions as a child and young adult—and at the time, (being a daughter of a psychologist) I thought that it was my task to “feel” every event fully, which eventually gave way to allow a difficult situation to destroy my life, to make me depressed for twenty years, or to let it rain on my week or my day.  Some of you may say, “But I was a victim of this or that…” Yes, many of us were victims of many things—I could be a “poster-child” of victimization in this life if I allow it. But I don’t.

This is where this brilliant teaching from my friend comes in. We have a choice not to take things personally. People do inappropriate things to others, but not because the victim “deserved it” or because “it was God’s will;” the perpetrator has a deeper, more spiritual problem. I also consider cancer or any illness as a “perpetrator” or victimizer.  In many cases, people make mistakes in the way they raise their children, because they don’t know better. Family members make mistakes in the way that they communicate with the people most close to them, because they were taught a form of communication or action that was not healthy; then we take the wrong thoughts in, like doubt, anger, sadness, or use the wrong words, in most cases, we are led to poor judgment and action. We all have our own individual spiritual paths. We are here to learn something, and therefore it does matter in the way we interact with people, both consciously and subconsciously. And it also matters how we interpret different actions in our life, because this is how we learn; this is how we create our destiny, our health in the future.

We may protect ourselves from getting hurt, from allowing something into our heart that does not seem healthy—like sarcasm, hurtful ways of being, negative talk, anger, and heaven forbid, worse actions. How do we do this? We have to become strong and decide what we want in our lives. We accept only that which is good for ourselves, for our friends, for our families—spiritual nourishment—for our souls. Our lives, the order around us and inside of us are a reflection of our souls.

What do you want in your life? I know that I didn’t know what I wanted. What does God want for our lives? My reference and dialogue with the Good in my early years was somewhat limited. I was crippled in many ways. I didn’t even know that I had a choice, which I could choose to be happy, and feel peaceful. I thought that this was some long-distance, lofty feeling that only few people had, because most people that I knew, excluding some, had a difficult time. Or I was so busy playing out the dramas of daily interaction that I didn’t notice that I could allow the Good into my heart and let go of anything else that didn’t belong.  An active spiritual practice was not part of my daily routine—not to say that I didn’t have spiritual experiences, because I did…God was trying desperately to get my attention.

I have learned recently that we are all gatekeepers of our own hearts. We can protect them with our strong will power. We don’t have to take in anything that isn’t agreeable. We are guided for ourselves exactly what isn’t good enough for our wellbeing (by checking if it is God’s will to do this or that, go here or there, say this or that.) If we become strict about it (because there will be tests—usually with people who try to undermine your new decision by their errant behavior through language or actions in form of guilt or judgmental decrees about how you choose to live your life,) then we may find good results, like experiencing healings from “incurable or impossible” diseases or situations. My personal experience gave me opportunity to toughen up my emotional skin, let the ego go, and shut my heart to darkness, to “sad stories,” to things that aren’t joyful, to repeated complaints. Sure, to be empathetic, in most cases, I will listen to something once and offer to pray with my friend or family member. When I pray for someone, things sometimes go away. This is the conviction—that I am convinced through my personal experience—that I can reassure other people that the Good exists, through my strict discipline. Other people’s opinions and judgments about the way I practice have no foundation for my own personal conviction. I do not sway from this stance, because I have seen miracles through my spiritual practice.

Every time we allow someone to tell us a story of injustice, or talk about deranged life circumstances, or repeat something sad, listen to disturbing gossip, newscasts, or music with poor lyrics, send an email that recounts a story of a troubled life, and so on, it is like something is being taken away from us—even if we can’t yet feel this. Do you ever wonder why you may feel a little drained of power after reading an “intense” email, or someone’s detailed blog that recounts something distressing (without a turnaround for the Good,) or you may feel a slight anxiety in your chest after a tough day at work? Do you put yourself through this mentally on your own? Why do we want to make someone else feel bad by sending a sad email, or talk about some kind of distressing gossip, or reveal way too much information about something that isn’t really anyone else’s business? Why would we spread something around if we can’t even recount the story in first person—from our own experience—and further, why give any attention to something as evil as cancer?

If we don’t believe in Cancer or disease, then it doesn’t exist for us. We have no fear, and we don’t ruminate on something that deserves none of our precious energy or spiritual power. I have seen this problem go away without any medicine, or after chemo therapy failed to help. Likewise, I am happy about people who have successful treatments with medicine or surgery as well. Medicine also saves lives. But here, I am speaking about the mindset to good health, for spiritual purification, and coming to a conscious decision on what we want to allow in our lives.

Sometimes things get by us, for whatever reason, and people experience some kind of body problem. Many of us have lost family and friends. We have seen them suffer and pass over to the other side. At the same time, we all have something different to learn about the possibilities that God offers to us. And I stress strongly here that disease does not come from God. Belief is powerful and central to how our reality is shaped, and belief in the Good can override bodily functions (as proven by the Yogis in India, faith healers, and people who practice spiritual healing.) It also helps to practice spiritual teachings that minimizes the “importance” of negative life events, so that when our focus is on the Good, that is what we receive—Good. We cleanse and purify our souls by doing this, and eventually our body receives the benefits as well. There is a saying, “Violence begets violence.” And the same applies if we tell cancer, “I hate you.”  We have just given a whole lot of negative power to this evil—but at the same time, what do we have in our heart? If we say such a thing, what do we have in our hearts? We have hate, and we have the recognition of an evil disease. Therefore, the door is open for debate, discussion, or action from this negative power. In my heart, I don’t allow this.

An example, say of getting strong, means to become sensitive to this kind of activity, and decide whether you want this in your life or not. When I decided that I was ready to focus only on the Good, I became more careful about how I thought, communicated, and where I led the conversation or let the conversation go. I learned that I can stop someone in mid-conversation and tell them that I’m not so interested in so many details. Telling someone that you are not interested is letting someone know about your preferences—like, whether you like sugar with your milk, or milk with your sugar. People close to me objected (and sometimes still object.) This is natural that “new ideas” are not always readily accepted—especially from family members and close friends. After all, old systems are being challenged. This is where I like to create new traditions in the way we interact—with mutual dignity and respect. We change our beliefs to change our lives.

 When I notice that I’m having a conversation with someone who wants to engage in verbal abuse, for example, by using foul language—I simply disengage—because ultimately, what I hear is what stays with me, and so I protect myself by shielding—snapping the gate of my heart closed. I’m not interested. I don’t pretend that I never used this kind of language or attitude. Language of this nature does not come from a loving place. Now that I don’t have a need for stress and life drama, the foul language dropped away three or four years ago. And this also makes my husband happy.

Once you make a conscious decision about what kind of life you want to lead, it is relatively simple. A strong example is that I respect myself more. I have a stronger sense of personal strength. My “victim story” has changed from living an existence of “poor me, how much I’ve suffered because they did so many injustices to me; I’m so sick and I’m not capable of gaining anything valuable in my life,” to “God makes me able.” I am allowed forgiveness, strength, spiritual insight, Joy, dignity and a lot of confidence. God has given me an inner peace and an appreciation for everything I’ve received in my life—even the difficult lessons and experiences.  Also, I’ve grown a thick skin. I don’t take things personally, because when I live in service to humanity, it isn’t about “me” anymore. I don’t, (or my ego) doesn’t get bent out of shape anymore, because this is not my focus. Wishing all the best to you and yours.