Prepare for Crucifixion

persecution1A few days ago, I went out for dinner with an old friend. We have known each other for about 15 years. We have been in a mens’ group together for many years, and have shared many adventures. Since we had not seen each other for several months, we had a lot of catching up to do.
“How are the children?”
“Fantastic!”
“Did you have a good summer?”
“Really great!”
“How’s your relationship?”
“Oh it’s wonderful.”
“How’s your health?”
“Much better, thanks.”
And so it went on. We stayed in this mixture of light banter and celebration for probably half an hour.

I do not know if we were deliberately avoiding the subject, but finally, after about half an hour, we came around to talking about our work. He has been very busy doing what he loves to do most, and all is good. I told him that I have been traveling, and teaching coaching trainings. Then I also mentioned that I have been doing a lot more blogging, putting more videos out on YouTube, and that I have been doing a lot of radio interviews: some of them national and reaching millions of people.

At this point my friend (and very soon you may start to question if he really is a friend, but actually he is, despite what happened next) became more visibly uncomfortable. He shifted in his seat and looked at me with suspicion.

“Why are you doing that?” he asked. “Why are you putting your opinions out trying to influence people? I think we are overdosed with everybody’s opinions already. We all need some peace and quiet.”

It was a reasonable question and he had a reasonable point. So I said to him: “Well, it is true that there’s lots of people expressing opinions. But many of those opinions are funded by big banks, or big oil, or big pharma, and many of those opinions are also voiced by loud, angry, right wing pundits. So I feel I have a certain gift of eloquence, and clarity, and I feel that I have something useful to contribute to the collective debate.”

Now his eyes started to bulge and he shifted from uncomfortable to downright angry. “Who do you think you are?” he asked, “Why do you think anybody should be interested in your opinion about anything? Whatever view you have is bound to be only partial.”

My friend was slowly metamorphosing into the ghastly love child of Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robinson. “Don’t you see what damage you’re doing to people,” he went on, “trying to influence them with your prejudice?”

At this point I was speechless. I was nervously glancing out of the corner of my eye, to make sure that his hand was a safe distance away from any sharp object.

He glared at me, his eyes now visibly protruding, “Don’t you see the damage you’re doing to yourself?”

I mumbled some kind of British mantra like “Well, I um, really, er, I, um, well, don’t really, um, you know, um…” which got him even more riled up. “That’s the pitiful thing about it. You don’t see the way you’re damaging yourself.”

Extremely uncomfortable as the situation had become, I saw that I was now going to have to say something in response, “I hear you,” I said, still in British reserved mode, “and I really get that this is your opinion, and you’ve got a lot of charge on it. But not everybody would agree.”

“It’s not my opinion,” he barked back. “It’s the TRUTH, and you don’t get it.”

I tried to change the subject and talk about something more benign, like ‘What are you doing for Thanksgiving?’ or ‘Christmas Decorations,’ but he was clearly perturbed and asked for the bill.

Later that evening my friend did apologize for getting so intense. I still do notPersecution know if he or I really understood what had happened between us. It was an interesting and extremely powerful evening for me, one which I’m very grateful for. It allowed me to hear somebody’s very strong opinion about what I am doing with my life, and then to listen to it, and check for the validity. More important, it allowed me to check in, to feel if I was deluding myself in some way. I discovered there a kind of calm centered-ness, a feeling of being in the right place, at the right time, and a feeling of knowing that I am doing what I was born to do on the planet.

If you ever have any intention of writing blog posts, or putting out videos on YouTube, that say anything new or different or out-of-the-box, it is a good idea to prepare yourself for crucifixion.

You are bound to get your taste of it very quickly from the “trollers” and “haters” and a whole bunch of other epithets for anonymous people who make it their business to tear apart anything they can find on the internet. That kind of attack is an absolute given.

You are also going to face a deluge of criticism from people you don’t know, who are actually ideologically opposed to your views. If you blog about gay marriage, you are going to have the fundamentalist Christians in your face. If you blog about GMO food, you can bet your bottom dollar that Monsanto will hire somebody to expose you as a total schmuck.

But what may come as more of a surprise, and it is certainly comes as a surprise to me, is that you also get attacked from people you love, and people who love you.

It is a mystery: how all that works. I cannot begin to explain it. Many of my friends who also write and “vlog” have reported on the same thing. Some explain it as envy (“I am getting more Facebook shares than they are, and they are jealous”). Some explain it as an ancient spiritual myth, that speaking out is a symptom of ‘ego,’ and will only drag you into a dark hole of your own self-aggrandizing deceit. Others explain it as a collective terror we share of crucifixion: illustrated by stories we heard as children of Jesus, but also of Buddha being poisoned, Mansoor being stoned to death, and many more.

break free 2It has become an almost meaningless cliché these days: to say that we live in pivotal times. But we do, more than any other generation in history. Everything is so different for us than it was for our parents, or grandparents. We have seen everything change in our lifetime: in technology, in economics, in the way food is produced, in politics and in spirituality. Some of it may seem like good news, some of it may seem like bad news.

But each and every one of the changes we have witnessed has to begin with an idea, a new way of looking at things. Ideas become speech. Speech becomes debate. Debate becomes action. Action becomes change.

Just in case you happen to be suffering from the same terror of disapproval that has restricted me most of my life, I would like to encourage you to prepare yourself for crucifixion.

It is not nearly as bad as we fear in anticipation.

And the resurrection on the other side, I have found, is very sweet.

 

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this topic.  You can enter them below:

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23 Responses to “Prepare for Crucifixion”

  1. Ali November 24, 2014 at 11:38 pm // Reply

    Thank you Arjuna, for putting that out there. It is interesting how these types of situations occur when we seem to be expecting them least, either from the person that we would never think would have such a strong opinion or from someone, as you said, whom you thought loved you. And, I am certain that he probably does. Still love you, I mean. As we all know, a very small reference you made to something that is normally quite benign could have triggered in your friend this type of response. We have no way to know what happened to your friend in the past that predisposed him to this outrage about your work. And, you may never know. That to me is what spoke strongly and held the real meaning of this encounter with your friend. How do we sit calm, comfortable in our skin, doing the work we feel compelled to do, and feeling in our soul that it is the \”right\” work for us? How do we feel confident continuing on the path, when there is strong opposition, and from those we want support from? That is the question we answer. How to continue with the enthusiasm, knowledge and the peace that is needed to keep going. His is one voice, among many that express opinions when you put it out there. It\’s no different from the person who stands up at the meeting, to challenge the status quo, or the whistle blower that jeopardizes their career to bring light to dangerous actions. These are all brave and courageous people. Continue your brave and courageous work, as we all benefit. Thank you.

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  2. Martina November 24, 2014 at 11:41 pm // Reply

    Thanks for sharing this. And thanks for being you. I like you.Love & Glow,Martina

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  3. Daniel Sieff November 25, 2014 at 12:37 am // Reply

    Dear Arjuna,My core values are authenticity, honesty and openness- so I will write with those in mind. Firstly thank you for your wonderful email. I know you are a man of reach and influence. I am a coach in the foothills of his journey. My grandfather started M&S. A c+ student- I must confess I have made a lot of mistakes- yet I am highly creative (www.danielsieff.com) and recently have had an incredibly strong spiritual calling. The study of New Thought and much meditation has meant the development of views which have isolated me from one very close (I was joint best man at this wedding) old friend who has had a lot of success in the business world (business success which historically I have craved) yet does not understand or even adopt empathy for my opinion. I respect his right of speech yet disagree with his views. I know his strong opinion against my viewpoint is a reflection of my own historic lack of conviction of self.I am ready to be crucified next year. He will always be my friend although we do not speak.I am committed to strengthening my spiritual practice and building my coaching business. Certainly it seems more and more new and wonderful people are coming into my reality to assist me in my vision(s). I give thanks for people like yourself and your team. I am truly grateful for all I have in my life and the courage and strength to develop myself and to assist in aiding other peoples lights to shine in 2015. Thank you for giving me a chance to share a voice.

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  4. Daniel Sieff November 25, 2014 at 12:41 am // Reply

    Forgive the poor grammar- it is very early in the morning here in London. 😉

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  5. Mary Campbell November 25, 2014 at 12:48 am // Reply

    Thank you for contributing to my awakening. Speaking my opinion has been blocked for so long I don’t know when it began, probably in the womb. Keep up the good work.

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  6. Tim Richardson November 25, 2014 at 1:07 am // Reply

    Thanks for this Arjuna. At first I was totally confused about/by your friend’s attack. Guess you were too. Your friend also, it seems. Later, like finally “getting” a joke, I saw, I understood. You were attacked by the pain body, emerging through your friend as its host/hostage. It was there, in him, and something triggered it into action and it fed on your friend and tried to feed on you. Seems when it came upon you it found no food in you, no pain to eat. Which really pissed it off.
    When I heard Eckhart speak about the pain body I didn’t want to listen, to hear, to meet it. Now I see that’s not an option. As you say, best to prepare for meeting it. “Know (understand)your enemy.” Much love, Tim

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  7. Saskia November 25, 2014 at 3:25 am // Reply

    Arjuna,

    Thank you for your insightful comments.

    Confrontation has always been one of the most scary aspects of life, and I have not been able to face it until recently… it is also the main reason behind my 58 house/life moves in my 59 years on planet earth.

    Recently, several people have been telling me I am very “wise” and encouraging me to write down what I have learned from my “interesting” life. I dismissed the idea as potentially boring people, enough people want to tell their life story and I don’t necessarily want to read about it.

    Your article has made me aware that it is the fear of confrontation and criticism that has stopped me from sharing my knowledge. I am reminded about the gift of giving that you have taught and also that the goose can be out of the bottle just as easily as it can be in it, so I am now going to take more seriously the thought that I do have something unique to give to others.

    So thank you Arjuna, keep on sharing your opinions, I for one find them very valuable.

    With kind and happy thoughts
    Saskia

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  8. Morgine Jurdan November 25, 2014 at 4:37 am // Reply

    Arjuna,

    I experienced your engagement with this friend in a different way. You provide a “safe space” for people to be themselves. This is the energy you emanate these days. A natural part of who you are.

Awakening coaching is about helping people discover and release those painful, habitual reactions we have to various parts of our lives. In my own relationship, I had complete freedom to vent my feelings knowing they would always be embraced and loved and never taken personally by my partner. People at work would sometimes yell at my him and later on in the day, apologize. He knew something was going on in their life and he was a “safe place” to unload in the moment, because he did not get angry.

    Perhaps your friend has had some negative experiences engaging on the internet and he rarely had a venue in which to just let all his feelings out. Perhaps his soul knew you were a safe place to let go and express his fears and concerns. It also sounded like he might have genuinely been concerned for your safety perhaps?

    I have had many teachers, including plants and animals, who have taught me that Divinity resides inside each particle of creation and that includes every human being, regardless of their actions. Every day we get up and are “doing the best we can” with whatever clutter of thoughts are holding us hostage in this moment. Whatever horrors we lived through, whatever painful abusive experiences we might still cling to, and sometimes people take out their anger on those around them, often those they love the most, because they feel safe to do so.

    My daily intention is to stand in my own brilliance and to call forth the brilliance in everyone I meet. This could be a grocery clerk, a homeless person, a friend, a parent, someone in pain. Because wherever I go, there “I” am, god meeting god meeting god, in all forms, colors, sizes, shapes and cultures. I am always looking at myself and do so with as much compassion as I can. With as much hope and faith that sometime, this person can connect with their own self love and brilliance and share their unique gifts with the world. 

I too have been afraid to share my own writing and in learning these things, I realized there is no need to fear. As long as I expect the best from anyone I meet, that is usually what part comes forward. I have been suicidal, angry, feeling abandoned and misunderstood, so my hand is alway reaching out to let others know, separation is an illusion and we are all One Family of human beings. Thanks for being one of my teachers! I love you endlessly, Morgine

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  9. Colleen Thornton November 25, 2014 at 4:59 am // Reply

    The triumph of the sage: With much light, patience, and love, without fighting his enemies, and even by leaving them be, he has the upper hand.

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  10. Robert Light November 25, 2014 at 6:15 am // Reply

    Aloha Arjuna,

    It’s been my experience to feel a sense that my illusions have been most effectively dispelled, and that my awareness is possibly touching “reality” the most keenly, at times when I have been utterly humbled – when it seems clear that the only truly appropriate or sane way to approach my journey through this lifetime is with ABSOLUTE humility.

    There are other times when I feel that through my connectedness to everything else in the universe, all the other parts of myself, that I have access to incredible power. I deeply appreciate the miracle of the trillions of cells working with vast intelligence to become this physical form – a vehicle through witch the universe can experience itself in a unique way.

    There is a totally valid truth to both of these realities. It is up to each of us to find the balance.

    It seems the universe just provided you with more assistance in finding that balance.There are other very valid truths to be reminded of via your recent experience. It is a very common human failing that when one is put in the position \”guru\” or \”spiritual wise man\”, and people start listening to, and looking up to this \”special person\” that once can loose touch with the importance of humility.It was a great reality check. One we all go through – yes? It was also wonderful that you reached out to your sangha and asked for feedback. Your work has the potential to be very important. It\’s perfectly timely. If you retain great integrity, you have the potential to play an effective role in the consciousness movement, a movement that is critically needed at this moment in the evolution of our species. But I suggest that your encounter reminds you to remain very humble, especially if you\’re intending to with network truly conscious people. Have fun, but only in deep humility can true greatness shine.You\’ve been forced by this \”friend\” to deeply examine yourself at this time when you\’ve been challenged in this way. Your work indicates that you would accept the synchronicity of the arrival of that message and use it in positive way. I\’m sure you\’ll dig into it and get the most out of it. Another wonderful reminder that, for a person like you, the REALITY IS that you are learning more about what REALITY IS every day. Please continue your efforts to be of service at this critical time. It\’s not about you. The thrust of your work is what\’s greatly needed at this time. We\’ll all look forward to hearing more from you.Aloha,Rob

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  11. Anja Louisa November 25, 2014 at 8:35 am // Reply

    Arjuna, yes. Cruxification – that is what I feared for the longest time. Disapproval, being cast out, cruxification. It has taken me years to speak out, in my websites, in my blog, in facebook. Still, my heart beats faster when I put out something which is not mainstream but feels so right and important to me. I can then feel fear crawling up inside me. I watch the fear-snake, stay with it, read my article again and once again and post it nevertheless.Thank you for this story. It encourages me to keep going, showing up and expressing myself clearly and visibly instead of shadowing myself. It is a practice. The more I do, the easier it gets. LoveAnja Louisa

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  12. Bhaskar November 25, 2014 at 9:51 am // Reply

    I feel more than the exchange of words or feelings ,more than the views expressed or received –all our reactions are guided by two basic emotions ,love or fear. That’s the only “free will” we have at any given point of time. Your friend was clearly operating from a fear of some sort–a deep rooted fear . You acted more out of awareness . By seeing it clearly ( of not being afraid of Crucifixion)in the light of your awareness you transformed it. I don’t know much about awakening and/ coaching but intuitively i have come to see something very interesting– all our fears spring from a sense of lack.We feel incomplete.Paradoxically we can never be complete because we were never empty !Love holds the key,however cliched it may sound. Not this “i love you” business ..but by discovering we ourselves are what we seek..love.

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  13. Katherine T Owen November 25, 2014 at 11:03 am // Reply

    Dear Arjuna, thank you for your insight.
    “Just in case you happen to be suffering from the same terror of disapproval that has restricted me most of my life, I would like to encourage you to prepare yourself for crucifixion… And the resurrection on the other side, I have found, is very sweet..”
    So insightful.
    If we have a terror of disapproval ‘a friend’ will volunteer to step up and express that disapproval out in the world.
    Sounds like you were ready for a test. And you passed. Your terror of disapproval was manifested and met with grace.
    There came a point when my frequent experience of unity required that I started making friends again with the word ‘God’ and with ‘Christianity’.
    I experienced a lot of resistance.
    As I was in solitude during many years due to illness it was quite clear that this resistance was within myself. Had I been speaking out I am sure that others would have voiced it for me.
    To make friends with the part of ourselves that disapproves and proceed anyway, to experience crucifixion, love anyway and believe in the resurrection is powerful indeed. Afterwards there is usually, in my experience, some melting of the opposition we encountered. We have recognised a brother as ourselves.

    I am amazed now as a writer and speaker on spirituality how relatively little resistance I encounter. Tho perhaps more is to come! ha ha.
    I am inspired by your grace and gratitude.

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  14. Rory November 25, 2014 at 11:26 am // Reply

    Thanks for the post Arjuna….

    Just to say that i am really grateful for you sharing your views on line…

    There are an awful lot of painful stories in the media…

    And so i really appreciate you and those like you who point to the deeper…more richly satisfying possibilities of human life….

    Much Love and Many Blessings…..

    Rory

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  15. Kamini November 25, 2014 at 11:29 am // Reply

    Thanks for sharing this Arjuna.Even writing this response I can feel my own pattern of shrinking to gain approval or to not be put down for having my own voice or shining my light. So much of my life having my bonfire snuffed out and most of the time feeling hurt and confused as to why, especially when it\’s a friend.Your post is very timely as I am just stepping out into the world with my passion and it\’s good to be reminded, and gently warned, that there will still be challenges ahead.I guess the key wisdom you share is that we need to examine criticism for any nugget of truth, or learning it offers before dismissing it or shrinking back completely. Stay shining x

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  16. Anita November 25, 2014 at 1:23 pm // Reply

    Dear Arjuna,
    your blog post reminds me of how hesitant I am to expose myself in the internet world in writing – while I love to write.
    Now I can see clearly some of the aspects of this fear. You made my inner “enemy” visible in detail and consequence. When I was a young girl, I loved martial arts. Learning about my counterpart transmuted combat into dance. Just like in bumpy relationships. In this neutral and at the same time intense inner place there is a strange beauty in everything, even in the worst moment, amidst the harshest comment thrown by someone else. A quiet mind in unison with an open heart – a most beautiful couple. I want to write, make myself visible and make a difference, supported by this beautiful couple. Thank you for emitting light into a dusty corner of my mind.

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  17. Curlyne November 25, 2014 at 7:12 pm // Reply

    Dear Arjuna,as I love NVC (NonViolentCommunication) it instantly cameto me that your friend might have a STRONG need there aroundthe topic……..and that it would be SOOO interesting to get to know it!!!I myself often feel overwhelmed with the quantity of outputs in the world today – and though we can choose what we giveour attention to, it also is a fact that we really have to protectagainst all the expressions that cross our paths, no?Anyway, what I would REALLY REALLY love to know in this story is to listen to the needs behind your friend\\\’s expression ofhis feelings (though it came out as an opinion maybe if we don\\\’t take the time and don\\\’t make the connection to find out how itcame about…………)……I\\\’d so love the world to come to that point – of really wanting to know what\\\’s going on for the other person when they expressthemselves in judgmental ways…….If you will find that out, I\\\’d love to read about it :-)Smiling,Curlyne

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  18. Raphaëlle November 26, 2014 at 11:04 pm // Reply

    I never really got this “opinion-game”. When I was younger, sometimes felt stupid because I wasn’t able to participate. For every opinion I almost immediately find an opposite, or a bigger picture in witch every opinion dissolves. Looking for an opinion is more like moving, flowing, tasting around something. And looking for the context. And maybe next day it is’nt true any more.
    This makes it difficult for me to participate, to show my work or to blog or whatever.
    And I love the way you do it, thank you, Arjuna!
    I’ll think about it, flowing and tasting and prepare for crucifixion 😉

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  19. Mirjam November 27, 2014 at 11:09 am // Reply

    Dear Ardjuna,I have been reading your blog with tears running down my face and yes, it is also my experience and your advice seems very apropriate: \”be prepared for crucifixion if you do or say anything new or out-of-the-box\”. Since it has become very clear for me that waking up has nothing to do with feeling comfortable and cosy, speaking with a soft voice about energy and being so high-sensitive, but instead of it is a very rough, confronting, painfull journey which sometimes makes me gasp for breath. At the same time it is sweet, joyfull, light and it fills me with gratitude. I realized there was so much passive agression, arrogance and in fact, a reluctancy to wake up, hidden right under the surface in me. For me it has become easier now, because I stopped fighting, I find joy in looking at everything which seemed \”ugly and weak\”, it is nothing, it releases itself in an instant. I realize I always have been very afraid to be rejected and since I See myself and what has been going on in relationships driven by this fear, everything changes. I finally start to love and respect myself. I am passionate about this waking-up-proces ánd I have lost most of my friends in this proces this last year because I do not shrink anymore or recoil, I am a much more loving person, nowadays, towards myself and others ánd more clear in my \”yes and no\”. I have been crucified more than once. I can still be very devastated, it touches painfull experiences of rejection, but I will get there, there is no wat back on this path.Thank you for your blog, it feels like I am walking with someone there for a while,With love and passion!Mirjam

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  20. Lynn November 27, 2014 at 3:15 pm // Reply

    Arjuna, Thank you for sharing this experience with your friend. It takes courage to step out in front and to be willing to express oneself when it is not in alignment with the current paradigm. But you are clearly one who agreed to be in the forefront of this shift, and came in with the gift of communication. To shrink from this would be to shrink from your very purpose. Your friend\’s communication was a gift, a test that he was willing to deliver. Thank you for sharing your response to him. It both showed your very human response and your ability to stay open and meet him. Perhaps there were more subtle messages in there that you will glean from the experience and perhaps this will assist in fine tuning your expression. More importantly, you were able to share your truth with him…… which is….. the world needs this balanced perspective and you have signed on to be one who is courageously delivering it. Crucifixion….who looks forward to that? And none of us who are stepping into that arena know when that is coming. Are we integrated enough to lead with love when we are confronted with deep hostilities arising from personal/collective fear? Are we grounded enough in our realization to speak from the larger field of awareness and not the confines of our egoic structure? It is a test. One given to one who has signed up for it. Congratulations. Enjoy the resurrection. And, thank you for assisting all that are stepping into this arena. I think as one who is contemplating stepping into a larger playing field, this article is very potent. When we play bigger, we are going to naturally be called out. I have thought for a long time that I didn\’t want to step out until I was more \”awakened\”. I am aware that the ego can wrap itself in many packages. And I am also aware that our world needs balancing and that if we are being called to step up, then we can do this from where we stand now…..it does ask of us to be honest about what it driving the communication. This is something I am currently contemplating as I dip my foot in the waters of this larger stage.

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  21. Joe Gagliano November 29, 2014 at 3:28 pm // Reply

    I am terrified of this very thing and also tired of “closet wisdom”. What I feel is not a secret, so why do I hide it? Fear is the only answer. To some degree, your friend may have been right. We may cause damage to our self and others, but no damage is irreparable.

    Damage be damned. Let me make the mistakes and live my truth and allow that truth to be refined and molded as it will. There is no manual for any of this.

    Thank you, my wise and courageous friend.

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  22. Barbara December 2, 2014 at 9:37 pm // Reply

    A quote of Arthur Schopenhauer came to my mind after reading your article:
    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

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  23. Sadhana December 9, 2014 at 9:40 am // Reply

    Dear friend,we are all one. Your friend was manifesting your own doubts and fears. Embrace him and these fears fully as yours and they will surely dissolve.

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