How to Not Be Offended
We all know we have an element of choice when it comes to ‘taking offense,’ yet often that’s not the choice we make. In this episode, Thom explains why that is, and what it takes to become impossible to offend.
Q – How Can We Not Be Easily Offended By Others?
[00:00:45] Dear Thom, can you share how we can be not so easily offended by others in life?
A – “I’ll be the offended one.”
[00:00:52] See, the thing is, if you find somebody offensive, why is it that you are valuing their opinion about you so much? Why is it? Why should you care?
[00:01:08] This is a person whose opinions on other matters you don’t agree with anyway, so why suddenly have you decided that you agree with their opinion as expressed in some so-called “offensive” statement they’ve made? It’s only offensive if you agree that it could, in fact, be descriptive of you.
[00:01:37] This is the basis of offense that, “I actually somehow agree that the thing that somebody has said could apply to me or could apply to another thing they’re describing about which I’m also offended.” To what extent are you willing to play the role of the offended one?
[00:02:01] People who think that they’re being offensive are as if walking around a party with a dagger on a platter, saying, “I have the dagger. It’s a poisoned dagger. Are there any takers? Is there anyone who’d like to pick up the dagger and stab it into their chest?”
[00:02:20] And if you’re willing to be the offended one, you raise your hand and say, “Over here. Bring that dagger over to me. I’ll be the offended one.” I mean, why would we do that?
Doubts About Our Own True Nature
[00:02:33] So when, from deep inside of ourself, we suspect that somebody may be onto something, they may be expressing a thought which we have decided is an illegal thought for ourself to have, maybe what they’re speaking could be construed by others who also hear it as being true about us. Then this is the root of this problem of being offended.
[00:03:07] And then I blame the person who offered the dagger for offering it to me because it takes me to pick up the dagger and stab myself with it. We need to be above and beyond offense through what? We get offended when we don’t really know our true Self, when we have doubt about our own true nature.
[00:03:35] “I have doubt about what I actually am. I have doubt about what I actually represent. I have doubt about what it is that comprises me. I have a doubt about what my self-description is, my self-identity, and I’m only just narrowly hanging on to a sense of identity of myself, and then along comes somebody who challenges that with what might appear to be, from some angle, an equally descriptive way of looking at me, and they offer that up. And I don’t want anyone thinking those thoughts, especially not me. So I get offended.”
Your Universal Status
[00:04:23] What is the cure for being offended? Inner-invincibility, identity-invincibility. What is identity invincibility? These days, identity is a huge political word, identity politics, identity this, identity that, gender, sex, this, that, and everything.
[00:04:43] Everybody bases their identity mistakenly, and very flawed because this is going to be fatal to their security and their identity, they base their identity on doings. “I’m a this. I’m an L. I’m a G. I’m a B. I’m a T. I’m a Q,” or some other letter of the alphabet.
[00:05:06] Nothing wrong with all those L’s and B’s and G’s and T’s and Q’s and all of that, but those are doings. These are means by which a fundamental desire to communicate sexually has been so far expressed historically.
[00:05:23] The Vedic worldview is that any of it could change any time. And so the idea that “I’m a this,” or “I’m a Democrat. I’m a Republican. I’m a libertarian. I’m a, I’m a whatever,” giving yourself a label that has to do with the ways that others have thought about themselves historically under different circumstances, geographic circumstances, climatic conditions, elevations, humidity levels, and world events.
[00:05:59] “I’m a whatever,” and the whatever has to do with doings. “I’m a doing. I’m a human doing.”
[00:06:08] No, you’re not. You are a human being. You are the Universe having a human experience, and you have all possibilities. You’re a human in that you have a repertoire of behaviors that are expressive of what? Your universal status, your universal identity.
“You are a bush.”
[00:06:34] When I have my universal identity steadfast, strong, invincible, I know on the level of direct experience, “I am That, which is the source of thought. Because I’ve experienced it so many times in meditation twice every day for years, I am fundamentally That which is the source of thought.”
[00:06:59] “I am That which is the source of all behaviors. I am the field of all possibilities. I am Totality.” Aham Brahmasmi is the Sanskrit word for this. Aham Brahmasmi, I’m Totality.
[00:07:18] Then, it’s not possible for anyone to offend us. It’s possible for people to amuse us by attempting to offend us. We can find it very, very amusing.
[00:07:31] Like, there, there was a little child who came to visit one of my little children last week, and this little child looks up at me and goes, “Thom, you’re a…,” and then he looks over and sees something growing in the yard and he goes, “You are a bush.”
[00:07:47] And I go, “Oh, I’m a bush. I’m a bush.” And everybody laughs, and he laughs too. Then he looks around at something else, and he says, “Thom, you are a chair.”
[00:07:57] And I go, “Oh, I’m a chair. I’m a chair.”
[00:07:59] And he goes, “I’m a chair, I’m a chair.”
[00:08:00] “You’re a chair. You’re a chair. Ha ha ha.” And everybody laughs.
[00:08:04] Now let’s take all of that into a grown-up context and someone comes to you and says, “You, you are a jerk.” Now, why is that any different to someone calling you a bush or a chair or something, some kid calling you a bush, or some kid calling you a chair? Or they put some other label on you.
[00:08:29] It’s because, in fact, deep inside yourself, you’re not very settled about what you are, who you are, what you are fundamentally baseline, not these ever-changing things.
[00:08:41] The ever-changing things can’t really be a permanent description of what you are and explain why it is you exist as a consciousness phenomenon. These ever-changing doings can’t explain all of that.
[00:08:56] And so, if someone has come up with a label about a doing that’s different to what you’ve insecurely attached to yourself, and then you find it offensive, it’s because you’re not actually experiencing your own fundamental baseline.
Impossible to be Offended
[00:09:12] We have to go beyond relativities. We go beyond gender. We go beyond doings. We go beyond politics. We go beyond thought itself. We experience ourself as the Totality field. I am Totality. I am the Knower.
[00:09:35] Knowledge has organizing power. This is a fundamental tenet of information theory. If knowledge has organizing power, and we know it does, then what about knowledge of the Knower?
[00:09:53] Knowledge of That by which all things are known. Knowledge of the Knower. Knowledge of the Knower, knowledge of the Totality field must have infinite organizing power, infinite organizing power. Knowledge of the Knower. I am Totality. This is a state from which, and experiencing from that level, it’s impossible to be offended, impossible.
[00:10:27] Jai Guru Deva.