Q: I wanted to contact you to let you know the impact your writings have had on me. I oftentimes need several days to several weeks to ingest only a few sentences or one paragraph at a time, and I have spent the last year doing just that. Put simply, your writings have helped me see. I can’t really put it into words beyond that.
A lot of unusual things have happened in the last year, and I take them as something that just “is” and this is probably because I can see things more clearly now. They used to bother me when I believed my fears, but now most of them are entertaining—except one—and this is the reason that I am writing: I feel I am different than everyone I know somehow, and people seem to notice now too. I can’t say how I appear different because I haven't asked, nor can I put it into words. I get both strong-positive and strong-negative reactions from people: they seem to either love me or want to run away from me (literally). This wouldn’t be a huge problem, but I am finding that interviewing for jobs is now a hit-or-miss with how people “feel” about me regardless of my qualifications. I am going on six months without any job in sight although I have had numerous interviews. I have recently cast my net wider to include job searching in all states. It is becoming critical.
Thank you so much for your time and any wisdom you can offer on the subject of fear/love reactions from others. I am curious how others have worked through this.
A: Thanks for your kind words about my writing. I am glad to hear it has had a profound impact on you. If by chance you feel moved to write a quick review of any of my books on Amazon.com or Goodreads.com, that would be much appreciated and could help others find their way to my books.
As for your question about the strong reactions to you that other people are having, I will share a perspective that I first encountered years ago in the book, The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment. Simply put, whenever two people interact there are two possibilities. The first possibility is that both people are equally open and expanded in their awareness or they are equally closed down and contracted in their awareness. In both cases, this is a very comfortable situation as the consciousness of both people is so similar. You may have heard the saying, "Misery loves company." This refers to this comfort and sense of support we feel when we are with someone with a similar degree of awareness. It does not challenge or threaten our own state of being to be with someone who is in a similar state.
The second possibility is that one person is more expanded in the moment and the other person is more contracted or identified in that same interaction. And of course, we have all been on both sides of this equation since it is always relative and also since our own awareness is always expanding and contracting from moment to moment and from day to day. When there is a difference or inequality in the degree of awareness, it is still fairly comfortable for the person who is more expanded and open, as that is just part of the nature of expanded consciousness to be fairly comfortable with whatever is happening. However, for the person who is more contracted, being around an expanded, flowing, open-minded and open-hearted person can be very uncomfortable. The greater awareness and ultimately loving presence that is available in the more open person creates a kind of pressure within the person who is contracted. The greater awareness can seem to shine a light on their own contraction and limitation and make it even more uncomfortable to remain contracted when they are in the presence of someone who is more conscious in that moment.
Ideally, this is an opportunity for the more contracted person to become aware of what is contracting them and to possibly even understand it more clearly and possibly let go of the limiting beliefs, feelings and desires that are restricting their awareness. However, the first reaction of the more contracted person is often to instead try and get the more expanded person to contract. This makes some sense because if they are successful at getting the other person to contract, then the consciousness will be more equal and therefore more comfortable for them. So they will criticize, tease, confront, or even attack the more expanded person. Or they might shower them with excessive praise and compliments as that can also make someone contract into a more limited identity. Again, we have all been on both sides of this equation and so you might be able to recall situations where someone else did this to you, and also situations where you consciously or unconsciously were trying to get someone else to contract.
It can be helpful for the person who is more expanded to consciously recognize that this is what is happening. If there still seems to be a possibility that the other person will give up their attempt to get you to contract, and you are willing to stay in the situation until that happens, then it can be a wonderful opportunity to help someone experience their own capacity for greater awareness and love. However, no one is ever under any kind of obligation to stay around someone who is actively trying to undermine your consciousness. And it does not really serve anyone to stay in the situation until the other person succeeds in bringing you down to their level. You are always free to simply move away or leave the situation, especially if this pattern is not part of an ongoing relationship.
This dynamic is just one part of the rich interplay of human interactions. Obviously, it becomes much more complicated when there are more than two people, or when there is a longer term relationship involved and other aspects of our conditioning are being triggered, or when other factors are also involved such as when the difficult relationship is just one small part of a bigger situation like a good job or your extended family. In the case of a longer term relationship, the question becomes what is the overall climate or truth of the relationship. Even if in the moment, someone else is trying to get you to contract, but overall there is a lot of love and acceptance and openness within the relationship, then it becomes more worth your while to stay until the present moment difficulty passes.
As for the specific challenge of finding a job, being aware of this overall dynamic may also allow you to initially meet someone where they are. If you consciously contract your awareness by your own choice in order to make the interviewer more comfortable, there is no problem. You may not want to or even need to join them in any overt negativity, but you might be able to focus your attention in that moment on the very practical matters at hand regarding the job itself, which can be a relative contraction of your awareness. Again, if this is your choice to in a sense be more "normal" in that moment, then it might be OK to temporarily join them where they are. The good news is that when our consciousness contracts, either by choice or when we are triggered, there is no harm done. Consciousness is infinitely flexible and can always return to its original shape. The ultimate freedom is not necessarily to always remain expanded, but to have complete flexibility to move into whatever state of consciousness truly serves in each moment. You might become curious during your interviews and simply experiment with different states of consciousness to see if you can discover the one that fits best with the specific person you are encountering, especially if you sense that the job in question would overall be a good fit for you. Sometimes this will happen spontaneously. As you mentioned, sometimes people respond very positively to you. But if there is clearly a discomfort in the other person that you can address without really sacrificing your integrity, then it might be possible to meet them somewhere in the middle.
I hope this helps explain some of the positive and negative reactions you are encountering. Your consciousness will affect everyone you meet even if you do not directly interact with them, and it will affect them even more if you do interact. And it is not your fault or even ultimately your responsibility if they are uncomfortable in your presence. And when by chance you do meet someone who can join you where you already are in consciousness, what a blessing!