I am not sure whether this will go in the book or how to rewrite it.
When I consider the teaching in Shantideva's chapter 8, Dissolving the Barriers, I find I want to take it to the barrier that is most in my face these days. Actually it has been a year of this experience which arises in the presence of J. This mad, resistant, anger that wants to use her for it's life force. I am fed up with this ignorance and this unhealthy projection.
This morning I described a way to dissolve these barriers, as I channelled the teaching and I listened for myself as it came through.
First let the conventional, conditioned mind of judgement have it's say. Let the projection arise on what appears to be an outer object. In my case it would be like this:
"She is so incapable of managing life. She is slow, almost perhaps deficient in intelligence. She doesn't seem to grasp the social scene and how to gauge what is going on and how to be sensitive to it. She's lost in her world of little putterings and sometimes appears to be a doddering old woman who can't find her way, feeble, incompetent, slow, not able to measure logically what her needs are and how to meet them. She is out of touch with reality and for me unable to meet me with strength and intelligence and depth of insight"
Next I need to step into her shoes and try on her life from her standpoint:
Her mother rejected her and shamed her and threw her shadow onto her. She was screamed at, criticized, made to feel less then, not cherished in any way. She wasn't able to have her true needs met and so she developed ways to get others to meet those needs. In her way she became very dependent on others and her own capacity to develop was stifled. Confidence did not have it's chance to flourish with simple accomplishments rather she became the outcast, the one that was not dependable. Her sense of self was not allowed to progress and so she chose to get by hiding in a big voice, loud proclamations, and grand schemes of wealth and fame in order to hide how bereft she was inside of any attention and care.
Next find this shadow self inside of me:
My own situation was very similar to J's. Mother same, situation of needs not being met same, feelings of shame same. Actually I remember feeling like something was actually broken beyond repair inside of me. I kept looking for how to fix this broken part because I wasn't like other people it seemed. I didn't feel normal. I went in the opposite reaction and created a totally independent self that had no need of anyone outside of me. I became invulnerable to life and found my way through isolation rather than dependency. I too was outcast in my family by my brothers. I was judged as being flakey, not responsible for leading the materialistic lifestyle and making money like they led. I had to live inside of grand schemes of spiritual attainment and secretly hoped it would solve my feelings of lack and shame and my human experiences of depression. I wanted to hide how bereft I was of attention and care as a little girl.
Next is to allow myself to see what it is that J. needs and then see if I can offer it to her in service: (this is where the heart begins to open and engage)
At this point I want to burst out in grief for all that I have just realized. Yes, "she is just like me". I need to bring to my heart both of these little girls because they are both lost, judged, wounded heart pieces. These little girls need to be cared for, shown how to manage with a compassionate mother guiding them. They need to be embraced with love and patience. The one needs to be helped to become more self reliant and have her confidence supported through her being listened to and building her ability to give to others. The other needs to be shown how to allow others to hold her and support her, as with a compassionate mothering, and that will build her sense of receptivity for she was closed to receiving. One could only take from others and one could only give to others.
So what I see doing this practice is mostly the dissolving of barriers and the returning to my heart!
If I had continued to see J as outside and different from me then I would continue to feel frustration with her way of surviving. It really doesn't matter what self we build; it is just important to let that self dismantle; and this can take place through exchanging oneself for the other when there is a barrier that presents itself.