The Gospel today begins with the question, ‘Can one blind person lead another surely both will fall into a ditch?’ Reflecting of what that means in practice, a true story comes to mind relating to the basic truth contained therein that all change begins within ourselves and being prepared to have our eyes opened to where we might be blind. At every healing service I have ever conducted the vast majority have come with a need for someone else to be healed rather than themselves; a child or relative, a partner or friend, always someone else. The essential truth about healing is that it always begins with me and is about me. Only when I am in a better place will it automatically benefit the other person.
A teacher was gifted with a wonderful musical talent and an extraordinary voice. She was head hunted to take a leading role in a musical on Broadway. Feeling she was born to sing it was a dream come through, she agreed and took a year’s sabbatical. Returning home she got a shock to find that her eldest son who was living in her house had managed to have it looking and smelling like a pig-sty. She came in a state of distress saying that she was caught between a rock and a hard place. A, if she confronted him he would likely storm our and probably not speak for years. B, she could say nothing but she also knew in her heart that she could neither condone nor live with the situation. I gently suggested a Trinitarian approach which is to forget about A or B and try to C a different question. An example of this might arise in a relationship. Do I stay or do I leave might be A and B. Neither might be right. Just by staying could mean being untrue to myself and by leaving I might be bringing my problems with me in a manner that will undermine any future relationship. The C question might be, ‘How do I grow?’
In this lady’s case I suggested that I might ask her some C questions. First did her son remind her of anyone? She replied ‘Yes, her ex husband, a fisherman who was allergic to water.’ They had many a row over personal hygiene. They should never have got married and had a very acrimonious breakup over which she was still hurt and angry. I I followed by asking if she was now displacing her anger towards her husband onto her son to which she replied, ‘Definitely’. Next I asked if she was expecting a positive response from him even though she was quite negative towards him? Again she agreed. Then I suggested that what she was giving out she was getting back and finally said, ‘Who really needs to change here?’ As the penny dropped her reply was ‘Feck you.’ In essence she repented with this realization and left soon after. Later that night I received a phone call to say that she had just returned home to find the house sparkling clean. Having had no contact with her son all day the only conclusion she could come to was that at an energetic level he knew she had changed and had dropped her judgmental attitude and so he was now free to respond in a favorable manner.
Jesus spoke of trying to take a splinter out of someone else’s eye and not noticing a plank in your own. A splinter in very small in relation to a plank and he situated the plank in the eye of the one who could only see the need to need for change in the other. The Yin- Yang symbol dates back at least 5000 years and reflects the interplay of male and female energies in the universe and also the interplay of light and darkness in each of us. None of us truly know the heights we can aspire to reach or the depths we are capable of descending too given the right conditions. Someone who appears a saint may under particular circumstances turn quite nasty, vindictive, bitter and selfish. Like a tea bag we may not reveal or even know our true colors until we find ourselves in hot water. Jesus always advocated becoming aware of the shadow cast by the plank in our own eye that makes us think the problem is in the other person.
A little story found in Vol 6 The Spiritual Self brings home that truth. A couple had newly married neighbors move in next door. Whenever the washing would appear on the line the wife would have a field day of criticism with remarks like, ‘What sort of mother did she have to allow her to tolerate washing like that, such a dark color with even dirty streaks left behind. One day, she joined her husband as he was having breakfast, and stared in amazement at a fabulous line of clean washing. ‘What has happened,’ she asked? ‘Did she have a new a new machine or was she using a new detergent?’ The husband gently said, ‘None of those dear, I was up early this morning and I cleaned our windows!’
To the pure of heart all things are pure, while to the jaundiced eye everything will be yellow. If we can look at others through the clear lens of love there are not nearly as many splinters as we thought. The gospel advocates a lot of window cleaning but always beginning with our own.