The notion that after feeling victimized as I did I would then turn to him for help – and pay him! – astonishes me. And it also doesn’t. In a nutshell, here’s my understanding of what allowed me to move from A to B.
Step 1: I began to see what’s true about what causes my feelings and psychological experience. (Hint: it’s inside out). Simultaneously, I began to see more clearly what cannot be its cause. (Hint: people, stuff, events).
Step 2: I started paying less attention to what cannot be causes. Meanwhile, I went about my life as best I could and had a little less judgment when I did have false causes on my mind.
Step 3: The temptation and attraction of the false causes started to soften (sometimes, without my even registering that).
Step 4: New thoughts (and their attendant feelings) showed up.
In short, he wasn’t cause in my lingering upset. I didn’t know how to extract myself from the painful, consuming feelings of believing he was cause, but I got interested in what was true about those feelings. As I did, the wisdom connection God wired into me got less muddled and I began to see and feel differently.
A few caveats.
One. I’m not saying there’s no free will or effort involved in such a shift. It was plenty tempting at times to stay in the judgment and anger loop. I often did. To me, my role was to be interested in what was true, to be interested in acknowledging where I was mistaken. Even still, the shift in my internal experience seems miraculous relative to the part I played.
Two. There is such a thing as damaging, inappropriate behavior that one can be a victim of. I don’t think it wise or “spiritual” not to put an end to or redress damages. I speak more of the emotional suffering that lingers independent of damages.
Three. Looking at my words above, I wonder whether someone might feel it lacks empathy, as if a guy’s suffering is his fault and he should just stop blaming. To that I say: Suffering is just human. We don’t go there willfully and if we knew how to end it, we would. Without respect for a person’s struggle, it’s not helpful to tell someone consumed by pain or anger, “You know, the causes you attribute your pain to are built on falsehood.”
Four. I had a fourth thing I wanted to share but forgot it, which just reminds me again of how dependent I am on the gift of Divine thought.