So if I asked if you would voluntarily eat or serve poison to someone what would you say? When I asked about two dozen people, I got all kinds of responses. The majority of them said no, NO, or #$@ NO! A few people asked me if I was okay. One person said maybe under extreme circumstances and of course, one person had to ask me if I was only asking about future, not past efforts. One person did confess to feeding someone dog food, but nobody said they would voluntarily eat poison or serve it someone else.
I promised all those that I asked that it would all make sense when they read this blog. I hope that it will. I have been thinking this week about the power of language. What if I was not talking about consuming a physical poison, but consuming or serving emotional, mental, and spiritual poison? If somebody served you a dose of emotional or spiritual poison, would you eat it? How often, perhaps when we are hurt, tired, angry, or lonely, do we serve a dose of poison to someone else? My journey this week began with a thought from one of my favorite spiritual writers, don Miguel Ruiz. He wrote, “Taking things personally makes you prey for predators. They can hook your attention with one little opinion, and feed you whatever poison they want. Refuse to eat poison!
When he put it in those words “Refuse to eat poison!” I realized how logical that sounds. Most people would not voluntarily eat poison. Nor as I gratefully learned from those I know would they ask others to eat poison either. Yet eat and serve poison is something some people do on a daily basis. It is time to not only refuse to eat poison, but also be mindful that we are not serving it as well.
People can say what they want, but that does not mean we have to take it personally. What others say is about them, not you. It is only about you, if you make it about you. Their opinion is their opinion. It is about them, their perception, and their story. Once we do not take things personally, once we refuse the first dose of someone’s poison, then we liberate ourselves from the suffering and pain that comes with having ingested some form of poison. Not taking things personally is an act of self-love. It says I love myself enough to no longer ingest the poison that anyone else is trying to serve me. Love yourself! Refuse to eat poison!
Take it a step further and love others. Refuse to serve them poison. There is a Sufi teaching which says before you speak ask yourself is it truthful, is it necessary and is it kind. We all have messages to deliver in our lifetime. The question is what are the main ingredients in our message. Are they messages of love and truth or are we asking others to eat poison. We not only need to refuse to eat poison, we also need to refuse to serve poison.