One Simple Practice to Escape the Vicious Cycle of Complaining (Even if Just Thinking of That Person Causes You Headaches)

You have just eaten a delicious apple. Now, you want to put this leftover into the trashcan. You open the trashcan, but you see it's already full over the brim -- no more space for your leftover.

A feeling of resistance builds up in your body and triggers your complaining cycle, like, "It's always the same. It's always me who is taking out the trash. Nobody cares. This house full of mad people." With that story in your face, you no longer want the content of the trashcan to be different, you want the people in your house to be different.

How can you escape that cycle?

Accept that nobody is able to act beyond their state of consciousness. If a sleepwalker slaps you in the face, you can't make him responsible for that. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. "Acceptance" doesn't mean "it's okay." It may be functional to tell the people you're living with to take out the trash when it's full, but unless you do it out of a place of acceptance, you'll overreact and make matters worse.

The way to practice that is to go out in your garden, in a forest, in a park, down the street and sit down on a bench or the ground in front of a tree. All you do is looking at the tree in full awareness without labeling it, like what kind of tree it is, how tall it is or how old it is. After a while you will be able to recognize that the essence that manifested the tree also manifested your body. That's when you start to feel one with the tree.

From a tree you move on to animals like cat, dog, butterfly, spider, ant, worm -- whatever comes along. Then you move on to people with whom you share just a little story or no story at all, like strangers at a party, your hairdresser, the person at the grocery store. After that to people with whom you share a medium-sized story, like your neighbors, some relatives and friends.

"Looking at a person as if it were a tree" means that you separate the story that you have about them and the behavior that they show to you through in the form of their words or reactions, from their essence. That is true forgiveness. -- Fabian Markl, Unlimited Freedom [1]

Finally, you practice with people close to you, like your husband, your wife, your girlfriend, your spouse, your lover, your brother, your sister, your children, your mother or your father. By putting all your attention in the people close to you, you will find that those relationships will reach a level of depth that you never thought possible even if they don't know that you are practicing with them.

Usually, there is always at least one person in a family that you may call the "black sheep." This person did something to you in the past, he or she betrayed you, stole from you, abused you or lied to you. The ultimate level of that practice is to look even at that person as if it were a tree.

Who ever heard of a woman how had forgiven the killer of her family?

Immaculée Ilibagiza survived the Rwandan genocide in 1994 through hiding in a 3 feet (0.91 m) long and 4 feet (1.2 m) wide bathroom with seven other women for 91 days. While extreme madness and violence was going on around her, she "discovered God" as she writes in her book Left to Tell. With God, she found true forgiveness for the killers, and that is what saved her life.

After the genocide was over, she found out that her mother, her father and her two brothers were killed -- just one brother survived. One day she meets the person who was active in the murdering of her family, looks him in the eye and says, "I forgive you." [2]

I'm not here to tell you what to do, but to tell you that if you don't let go of it, this story in your head will take form in your body as anger and resentment. These emotions will destroy your life more than what this person did to you.

You don't have to meet that person ever again. You know that you've let go of the story when all you have left for this person is love. The choice is yours.

Need more help to deal with those people? Just leave your comments below. I'll do my best to reply to you.


[1] Click here to read the rest of the chapter (7-Page PDF) for free now (no sign-up required).

[2] She wrote her entire story down in her book Left to Tell. You'll find more details how she was able to awaken inside while 99% of everyone she knew was killed just few meters away from her.