If you think that you are missing something in your life, your attention will often be preoccupied by what you need in order to feel whole or fulfilled. This lack inside may be expressed through the search for Truth, pursuing success, attempting to heal your past or present, taking risks to increase your confidence, trying to achieve some great feat, or through any number of personal endeavors. Accordingly, the people who come and go—as well as those who stick around—will reflect your quest for fulfilment by taking on certain roles. At any given time, an individual will represent a Threat, a Cautious Friend, or a Conditional Teacher.
The “threat” is someone who has hurt you in the past, is hurting you now, or is someone you believe might hurt you in the future. You will maintain a generally adversarial attitude toward this type of person, always on guard and ready to fight, flee, or freeze when in their presence.
The “cautious friend” is someone you like, either due to shared interests or common goals. The word “cautious” is used because the relationship could terminate if the friend changes and stops treating you as special, at which point that person becomes a threat.
A “conditional teacher” is an authority figure whom you believe can show you how to complete yourself spiritually, materially, emotionally, or mentally. As long as the teacher is in some way meeting your need for importance, belonging, safety, or power, you will continue to submit yourself to his or her authority through your obedience, devotion, and openness to believing almost anything the teacher says. Once you’ve gotten all that you can get from that teacher, you will go in search of another, “better” one.
Your experiences of pain, guilt, shame, and fear, as well as those of pleasure, success, excitement, and happiness, often seem to be instigated through your interactions with one or more of these three types of character. Of course, one person can change a role from time to time in your life, something that happens most often in your closer and intimate relationships.
One day, your spouse may act as a teacher who will render an opinion or piece of advice regarding sex, money, parenting, or self-regard. A simple statement about what clothes you should wear, how you should deal with a son or daughter, how you should behave socially, or how you should behave sexually, can elevate or devalue your status in your own eyes and support what you would call a negative or positive self-image.
The next day—or minute—that same spouse could assume the role of cautious friend and engage with you in some pastime. Your partner can then spoil your pleasure by not behaving supportive enough, or complaining about some aspect of it, turning him or her into a threat right before your eyes. Ten minutes later you could be seeking his/her advice about something and your partner becomes a teacher again!
A great many intimate relationships are actually cautious associations because they depend so much on the mood and behavior of the other person. For instance, you could plan a surprise for him/her, but your satisfaction will be dependent on how much your spouse appreciates your gesture. If s/he is thrilled by it, your stock goes up; if s/he fails to respond enthusiastically enough, your personal stock plummets. After too many disappointments the relationship could degenerate to the point where you see your partner as a constant source of hurt, betrayal, or abandonment, and she/he would then be permanently relegated to the role of a threat.
A life-changing event sometimes can take place in a person’s life, one which transforms all the person’s relationships instantaneously. That event is a kind of waking up, or popping out of a trance, whereby the individual recognizes that they are not what they believed themselves to be, and that all beliefs are in fact “lies” that were completely blinding them to the Truth of their magnificence.
Once this event happens to you, the very same people who you perceived as threats, cautious friends, or conditional teachers become Mirrors, Playmates, or Spontaneous Teachers.
The Mirror is someone who helps you confront a belief. This person will do or say something that will make you aware of a discomfort inside you, typically a feeling of abandonment, unworthiness, or heartbreak. This discomfort will point you to a core belief or self-concept, since feelings are the “power source” in all personal beliefs. By relaxing into acceptance of the feeling, your awareness grows, and you can begin to see the belief as an illusory facade that blinds you to the Truth of what you are, that is, a magnificent being, or the “non-self,” occupying a human form in this virtual reality we call “the world.”
The person in the Mirror role makes you aware of those uncomfortable feelings so that you can accept and feel them as much as possible. This acceptance rather than rejection draws your attention deeper into the feeling’s center, allowing you the opportunity to recognize that the feeling is an illusion, a disguise for the pure and perfect power of the non-self that you really are. Once the process is complete, the Mirror will either change in behavior, or you will no longer be bothered by his or her behavior.
The people who assume the role of Playmate will come into your life to invite you into a creative, fun, surprising, or expansive experience of life. It could be something as simple as going for a walk and enjoying the creations in nature, or going to see a movie and appreciating the dynamics of the human experience. It could also happen that you engage in a conversation with this person and together have a completely focused awareness of Truth.
Or you could simply enjoy a cup of tea or glass of wine together. The Playmate is simply another reminder of the support that constantly and completely surrounds your experience of remembering.
The Spontaneous Teacher is not any one particular person. Some of the ones you meet may be in some teacher role or capacity, but most are simply individuals who, by their words or actions, inspire or enlighten you. None of them, regardless of their title, is more spiritually advanced than you, since spiritual “levels” and “hierarchies” turn out largely to be beliefs that were designed to reinforce a sense of smallness in you. Spontaneous Teachers often appear as “Regular Joes or Janes” who say or do things that will reflect the learning experience going on in consciousness.
When I popped out of my trance state, I didn’t meet any masters, enlightened beings, old souls, or anyone who appeared to be more advanced than I. But since the learning continues, and there are more and more direct experiences of consciousness, the learning is reflected in my interactions with others, whom I recognize in that moment as teachers. I’m not looking up to these individuals, but rather embracing them with appreciation.
Once you recognize the Truth that exists beyond all beliefs, everything and everyone exists to support you to grow in awareness of that Truth. Your whole life becomes about:
- Directly experiencing and knowing who you are,
- Seeing through and dispelling the lies, stories and illusions that kept you in a trance of forgetting what you truly are,
- Appreciating the magnificence of being,
- And playing!
The roles of Mirror, Playmate, and Spontaneous Teacher can be filled by any person at any given time, regardless of age, gender, or state of emotional maturity. The one aspect all three roles have in common is in the delivery of one simple message.
You have no enemies.