Wednesday, May 5, 2010


One of the issues I have had to deal with since moving here to Aberdeen is beggars at my door. There is great poverty here. At times this ongoing interaction with those who have seemingly fallen through the cracks has broken my heart, driven me to distraction, brought out violent visualizations, and caused me to simply enter long states of having a locked gate and closed door policy regardless of who knocks.

The difficulty was in the continual juggling of my stance about this - in sifting of the parasites from those really requiring assistance - in trying not to give money to those who only spend it on drinking - and generally in dealing with continually being disturbed when busy or sleeping. Then there was the problem of when giving to certain people that a whole network of parasites awakens and the banging on the door never stops. And many of these beggars have no point of reference for personal space - because they have none - so 6.30AM on a Sunday morning is the same for them as midday on a Monday. Hunger does not wear a watch.

All through this experience I accepted mentally that every encounter was 'required' - and although I got this mentally - I more than often did not embrace this emotionally. Understanding something mentally doesn't necessitate that authentic application follows. Accordingly I would do what I thought was 'the right thing' - which may entail giving the person my loaf of bread - then 5 minutes later realizing I had no bread for my own breakfast. Or, I would become so annoyed that I would give them a lecture on their complete disregard for others space - and five minutes after their departure feel like an idiot. After all ,I was talking to someone who had an empty stomach, a hangover headache, and who had definitely not slept the night on a soft mattress in a safe place. It is unlikely matters of 'personal space' are very high on their agenda.

Recently I made a conscious shift with regards my interaction with beggars. I asked for guidance about this and I received the insight. It has changed everything for me. What I saw is how I had made this issue all about them. How can I possibly begin to mentally deal with the reality of begging as a whole? Beggars are also so 'wanting' and 'needy' that it is easy to get sucked into their vortex of drama. My insight was that this is actually 'all about me' - not them. Sounds selfish doesn't it? But it is not. It is about me because that is who I am left with once they leave. They get to walk off, but I have to return to my desk or wherever in my home and spend time with the one who just got pissed off at the door!

Now, when they bang on my door, initially I do not place my attention upon them at all - and if I find myself reactively projecting - I pull the awareness right back into my own body and heart - and make sure the encounter is generated from this point of view. Nowadays it has become such a conscious practice that I do not open the door until I am fully in my body, present, and function directly out of the moment that I am in - not the one I was in when I was previously irritated - or the one I assume them to be in. If I feel I cannot show up - then I give myself permission to not open the door at all.

What I realized when I started applying this approach was that the main reason this issue had previously annoyed me so much was because every call made by beggars was a call to me to show up in the moment - with what is happening right now in this world - as opposed to what I was mentally occupied with in my manufactured world. It was a trigger awakening me to an emotional imprint related to my being overwhelmed by life because I was unable to be present enough to fully engage it. It was likely from a time when events around me as a child were so overwhelming that they sucked me into their distrubed vortex and left me a tattered shamble within mine. The actual point of imprinting does not matter - but the feeling triggered is now very obvious to me. By being able to be with this feeling, I am also able to be with unsolicited banging on my door.

I have discovered that since disciplining myself to not open the door until I am centered and grounded in the moment, that my encounter with these individuals is transformed. Even their way of engaging me is transformed. I no longer interact with them in a way intended to get rid of them, or to verbally challenge the reason for their presence on my doorstep. I have also discovered that I no longer over-give or completely dismiss - that my being absolutely present opens a middle pathway of interaction which is sensible, required, personal, and which leaves no trailing residual of emotional discomfort.

So now I no longer have beggars coming to my door - I have cleansing calls begging me to show up. A simple shift in my intent transformed what was infuriating into what is now a potential moment of increased personal possibility. If a bang on the door ends up in me being upset - that is about me - not the caller. I really am responsible for the quality of my experience. This is a relief to realize...again!