I had an epiphany in the midst of a conflict I faced when a friend did something I did not like. A chain of thoughts started – as they do – which resulted in an intense internal emotional reaction. Upon honouring my experience, seeing it clearly for what it was, I noticed the intensity of the experience wasn’t a direct result of what the friend had done. Instead it was coming from my conflict and my resistance to my own dislike, to my own thoughts about her behaviour and to my resistance to my emotional reaction. The friend who turned out to be yet another guru enlightened me to the fact that at the time I had difficulty honouring my own being. Then I heard the inner guru say ‘you are the queen of your own castle’. I heard it a few times and each time I heard it I felt more relaxed, at ease, in peace. This simple statement took away all of my doubts about my reactions. I saw them as just that: reactions and, not something I could be defined with. In fact I had very little to do with them – they were happening inside and I was helplessly watching them create havoc.
I took my inner guru’s statement as a confirmation for the necessity of creating boundaries in relationships in order to avoid further conflict. It brought clarity as to why tension arises in relationships and crystallized the definition of ‘conflict’ for me.
As I had this epiphany, I noticed that the depth of the conflict in all relationships corresponds with the inability to effectively manage our inner being. I saw our inner being as a castle that has been handed down to us by our ancestors and our role wasn’t to judge its state but instead to maintain it to our best ability and create order within it. Just like any castle, this one comes with a certain appearance (our physical appearance) and it comes with different systems that make it liveable; like heating (circulatory system), electricity (nervous system), plumbing (digestion system) etc… all of which make up our physical reality. It also comes with servants such as the mind (thought patterns) and emotions that react and respond to what happens inside the castle. The question is: If someone gave you a key to a castle and said you’ve be given this by all generations that came before you, would you feel inadequate and doubtful if you noticed some of its servants could do with a bit of discipline or you noticed the plumbing and electricity are not in perfect condition?
This is how most of us live, feeling inadequate because of the imperfection we find by what has nothing to do with who we are. The identification with all that makes up the castle, leaves the castle without a ruler, in chaos. No-one has the responsibility for its smooth running and hence the system crashes for the same reason over and over again and the servants find themselves running around in panic not knowing what to do.
How many times a day instead of recognising that we are the being that lives within the confines of the castle, the being that has power and clarity; we identify with our conditioning: how our brain sees things, how our emotions responds and how our body works. We are busy analysing, changing, blaming or judging the conditioning instead of seeing that we are the one that manages and creates order in this castle regardless of its current state. Although, there may be changes necessary, they won’t come from a sense of inadequacy which is the result of identifying with what needs changing.
We didn’t have a choice in the type of castle that we inherited but, whatever state it’s in, our ancestors worked hard to keep it going and pass it on. If we are to be a worthy keeper, our first responsibility is to care for what has been handed down to us. We can do this by bringing love and light to its every corner and by taking the first step of understanding and learning about it.
This is where self-awareness comes in. Self-awareness is nothing but walking in the castle and checking things out. Noticing if there are any leaks anywhere, seeing if there is electricity in all the rooms and if all the plugs work. It is learning about the behaviour of the servants. Does one overwork when others just lay about doing nothing but complain. What is it that creates havoc within its walls. Walking about our castle with the purpose of getting to know it, is literally like sending in an undercover agent, see what’s really going on and manage it more efficiently. I say undercover agent because any fear of judgement will stop the ‘truth’ and reality to come forth. For example, if fear (one of the servants) is afraid of being seen as bad, it will hide itself from the queen, leaving her incapable of seeing what causes chaos. In other words, if there is the slightest judgement left in self-awareness, the whole truth won’t be known and parts of the castle will remain unknown – in darkness.
The awareness of our being, of our castle, brings about such a change inside that it affects the dynamic of all our relationships. When we enter a relationship and connect to others, we are welcoming them into the castle of our being. The more we learn about ‘what happens’ inside the more we can maintain harmony. Let’s say someone comes in to your castle and doesn’t know that one of the electricity plugs is faulty – If she/he attempts to use it, the entire electricity will shut down. What would you do? Would you get cross that she/he didn’t know about the plug and expect them to have known? Would you shy away from telling them and risking chaos inside or would you explain to them how things work inside and what needs to be done in order to keep the castle in working condition? You see when I found myself in conflict with my inner castle, I was paralysed for a few minutes. Someone had used that ‘plug’ and without electricity it all went dark. As I remembered who I was, I knew that all that I needed to do was to communicate. Communicate that while I am trying to figure out if there is a way to fix this plug, no-one was to use it. If my guests have no willingness to help me keep the inner harmony or if my guests feel better seeing it in chaos, my job is to stop them from coming in. Loving them nevertheless but at the same time loving where I live too.
Treat this inner castle, how you treat the house you live in. You don’t start hating your house just because someone forgot to take their muddy shoes off and brought all the dirt inside. Do you?