Aaron sat in front of me and said, “Yesterday I said something insignificant, and Roxanne (his wife) blew up at me. It made no sense. I tried to talk to her about it, but it was impossible, so finally, I left the room.”
“Was there anybody else in the room?” I asked.
“Wrong, and you're not seeing that was the entire problem.”
Every time we speak or act, uncounted influences are at play, but we are unaware of nearly all of them, so we don’t understand what we’re doing, or why, or why people respond to us as they do.
Every time you speak or act, you are being actively affected by:
- Your DNA
- Your epigenome, which is a product of a great many factors, and can pass on to you the feelings and behavioral patterns of your parents, grandparents, and more.
- The way you were treated by your father—most powerfully at ages so young that you don’t even recall the actual events.
- The principles you were overtly taught by your father.
- The way you were treated by your mother—most powerfully at ages so young that you don’t recall the actual events.
- The way you were treated by your grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins.
- The way you were treated by your teachers, peers, neighbors, and more—again most powerfully at ages you don’t remember.
- The way your father and mother were treated by their fathers and mothers, and in turn their fathers and mothers, and on and on, back for a dazzling number of generations.
This is a shortlist of the more important influences on your feelings and behaviors, but the distillation is that every time you talk to someone or interact with them, you are not alone. You are surrounded by hundreds of people and tens of thousands of events from your life, as well as the hundreds of people and tens of thousands of events from the life of the person you’re visibly with. You are so far from alone, and rarely do you consciously choose the company you’re keeping.
In the movie, The Thirteenth Warrior, the Viking chieftain and his band of men were preparing to go into a battle that strongly portended their likely deaths. Before rushing to the conflict, the chieftain, Buliwyf—pronounced Bull-vai—looked off into the horizon and with a powerful voice proclaimed, “Lo, there do I see my father. Lo, there do I see . . .”
And then, one by one, the other warriors—Herger, Edgtho, Weath, and more—joined in the sacred chant,
“Lo, there do I see my mother,
and my sisters,
and my brothers.
Lo, there do I see the line of my people
back to the beginning.
Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them.”
The warriors were consciously summoning the companionship of all those who had been with them and who had gone before them, feeling their supportive power as they went into battle. We all need to be more aware of the “line of our people,” and that they do “call to us” and influence us, sometimes even insisting that we “take our place among them”—or, in other words, continue the patterns of feelings and behaviors that swept them along in life.
Ideally, the line of our people would buoy us up and give us love, strength, and wisdom. Often, however, this long line of people affects us strongly with their pain, fears, and anger. We need not fear these influences, only be aware of them, so we can make wiser choices of our own, rather than simply following old, well-worn paths.
When Aaron and Roxanne spoke to each other, they were severely affected by the voices—often shouting—of a long line of their people and their own pasts. In that one room where they spoke, hundreds of people were crowded together, all speaking at the same time. Although Aaron and his wife were not consciously aware of all these voices, they WERE affected by them.
As we are loved and taught by people in the present, we can become aware of these many voices, and we can learn to silence those that affect us in unloving ways. We can invite the presence and voices of people who will love and guide us. As we do this, finally we become free—free to choose, free to be happy, free to be loving.
Replace your anger & confusion with peace and happiness.
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