Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sharing my experience? Yes. Preaching? No.

A good friend called me today, after reading last night's blog about meeting death. She understood what I was writing about, because last night she went through her own death, the final end of a marriage. She and her husband passionately love each other, but can't live together.

Rather than being her friend and just listening, I found myself being a "spiritual teacher" and telling her how she was creating this dramatic story and how she could change it. After we hung up I realized that I hadn't really been as present with her as I would have liked. Instead I imposed on her my thoughts about what she should or shouldn't do. My intentions were good. I want her to be happy. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It's one thing to write in my blog about my own experiences and the lessons that I am learning. It's another thing to impose these lessons on others, because I really don't know what is best for everyone else. Hell, more often than not I don't know what is best for me. So sharing my experience is fine. Thinking that I know and preaching to others is not OK. My lesson may not be someone else's lesson. We all do not need the same thing. If I say something and it resonates, I am happy that I have supported you. But more often than not, I imagine you might read what I am saying and think, What the hell is she talking about? If that happens I invite you to comment on my blog and ask me your question. I promise I will answer.

Living in California, and in a spiritual subculture for over a decade, I may use language that is perfectly clear to my friends but not to someone in the Mid-West who has not been immersed in the teachings I have. Even my friend who understands me more than others, reads my blog religiously, and can relate to most of my posts, doesn't always understand what I am trying to say. What seems clear to me may not seem clear to others. But it's hard for me to gauge this without feedback.

So I invite anyone who has a question to write it in the comments. And I ask forgiveness from my friend for preaching to her rather than just being her friend when she called to talk about her pain.

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