In the yoga community we use a phrase to describe a person who hurts someone, physically or emotionally, by being unkind, mean, or selfish, “They’re unconscious.” Sometimes this is wielded as an insult as if this person knows better and is in complete control of their level of consciousness.
But really, do any of us possess total power over the development of our awareness?
I’ve taken up being a background/extra actor to gain experience in TV. There is no guidebook to teach anyone all the things that go on on set. It’s literally up to the divine God of entertainment to educate you as you go. And as luck would have it, I ended up being booked for a small shoot with two A-list celebrities (an Oscar nominee and a winner). This was only the third time I’ve ever done this and I knew it was going to be a stretch for me but it’s an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up.
Everything was going fine and we were nearing the end of the day when suddenly, the set changed, cameras shifted, and I had new obstacles in front of me and I didn’t know what to do. The person who I needed to ask wasn’t near me. I made the best decision that I could but I flubbed my part…big enough that I’m pretty sure the experienced A-listers noticed. On the outside, this looked like I was a total flake. But on the inside I know I’m just new.
There are times when, somehow, we all find ourselves in a role that is a new degree of difficulty. Whether that is being graceful when everything else is going to hell, or being emotionally generous when you’re wounded; as we expand into new experiences, maybe it goes well and maybe it doesn’t.
It’s very hard to explain what happens in the complex matrix that makes up anyone’s internal world, as information is digested between cognition, psyche, and spirit and then a choice is made.
We have to accept that this unawareness, this blindness in ourselves and others is part of the dharma we have to live. It’s not up to us to determine the appropriate time for anyones consciousness to mature.
Maya Angelou is famous for saying, “When you know better, you do better.” That “knowing” occurs when it does. We cannot hold ourselves or someone else responsible for not figuring out something sooner.
Forgiveness occurs when understanding has been created. Instead of noticing someone’s unconsciousness almost as a fault, can we be a little more kind and compassionate from the perspective that every moment is part of a greater story. We really don’t know at what point we are witnessing the unfolding of it.