treeFrom time to time, I receive email questions from someone who seems upset. Instead of a sincere desire to learn, the motivation of the questions seems to be to find a flaw in me and/or my teachings. The intent seems to be to make me wrong. I usually try to find a way to help the person. Truth is, that rarely works because they have already committed themselves to their attitude. But at least they have then heard something from me that may (if not right away then in the future as they reflect back) help them.

I believe that such resentment is often rooted in some sort of competitiveness.  Perhaps a husband resents the fact that his wife likes my teachings and would prefer that she look to him for spiritual knowledge. Perhaps the person wants to see himself as an authority and therefore feels threatened or offended by me. Perhaps they feel they need to maintain their dogmatic world-view, feeling threatened by anything that may challenge their current understanding.

I hope the following response might be useful to anyone who may find himself feeling at odds with another person:

I sense hostility in the emails you send.  I would like to suggest that you take a look at your motivations.  What feelings, what emotions, lie within you when you write these emails?  What do you really want from me?  What is going on with you?  I am not asking you to give me those answers.  However, I do feel it would help you if you could honestly answer them for yourself… what you are really feeling about me, my teachings, and why.  Just please remember that self-honesty is a most difficult task in such situations.  Of course you could always deny any negative feelings.  Perhaps then you could once and for all make me wrong in your eyes, which may in fact be what you have been hoping for all along.  If that is so, consider this my gift to you.  

With utmost sincerity,

Michael Mamas

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