Have you ever known someone who you just want to avoid like the plague because they not only seem to know it all, they probably also believe that they do,and that seems to turn you off to them, in some way? A recent encounter into this shadow happened with a customer to whom I was delivering flowers. Shortly after I had left her house to return to the store I received a call from an associate telling me to go back to retreive the flowers because the customer said the flowers were wilted. I returned to her house and in retreiving the flowers, which seemed fine to me, she told me that she had her own rose bushes and “she knew roses.” I conceded and took the flowers back and when I was returning from her house, I was thinking about how there might be a shadow whenever I think that I know something that someone might not know and still make them wrong for it by making myself right. Once I realized the opportunity to be a witness to the this moment in the car, that is to take myself outside of any emotional, rational, or other such attachments to this situation, I got to see the woman as me.
So how does thinking that I know become shadow? If I am wanting to be right about something, by my focus, I can no longer be in the present moment, to just be alive with the person with whom I am sharing the air, time and place. Instead I am stuck in my story about the other person thinking that he knows, and therefore I can’t experience any aliveness in the person or in myself, for that matter. In fact, all I have is story and as I have recounted before, story, like understanding, is the booby prize.
Noticing this once again, I can choose aliveness over righteousness, and with that choice, everyone gets to win.