It was middle that day, I was crying… I was irritated.
Just feeling helpless in that moment… I didn’t feel strong enough to face the situation so I resorted to crying.
I was feeling cheated by someone I trusted. Like anyone else, I had my eyes closed while crying and suddenly The Shadow Man appeared.
I was surprised to see him.
“Hey, look at that, what are you doing?” his tone was very friendly
“I am angry and…”
“Oh I am shadow man” he interrupted
“I know, you don’t have to introduce yourself to me” I protested
“You don’t have to either” He replied
“I didn’t” I responded
“You just did?” He told me
“No I did not” I insisted feeling more irritated
“You just told me ‘I am angry’… didn’t you?” He said
“Yes, I did” I admitted
“Don’t you know when you introduce yourself to someone you say, “I am ____” so when you said I am angry, you are introducing yourself” He smiled as he spoke
“OH, you are impossible?” I replied
“No, I am shadow man. Don’t put someone else’s identity on me. I am not ‘Mr.I.M.Possible’ ”
I couldn’t help laughing at the way he said the word ‘impossible’ as ‘I M Possible’ I forgot all about my anger.
“So what was it that was bothering you?” He asked
“Well, it was a friend. I mean someone I considered as a friend. He cheated me. Broke my trust and made me feel so sad” I said
“So is that how you behave in situations like that?” He asked
“Well, I don’t know any better way” I admitted.
I had mistakenly learned some where as a child, if you can’t fight back, cry it out and you will feel lighter. I used to do that quite a bit… in fact, I did so every time I was angry. But just like old clothes that was something that was useful only up to a certain age but now my needs had changed BUT my behaviour had not.
“Is that all you know, I mean you cry when you are angry?” He asked
“Well not really, I go out for a drive and drive very fast at times to release anger” I told him
“Well you are acting like the ‘severely foolish miser’ who re-use used diapers” He said
“Excuse me… What do you mean?” I detested his comment
“Well, there are some people who wash and dry and re-use diapers thinking they are saving some money, not realising the germs they are spreading and disease they are creating will cost a lot more they are foolish and miser at the same time” He explained
I felt like vomiting on the idea and realized he was referring to my behaviour – which I learned as a child but was doing as an adult. I also realized that I must come up with more positive & useful unconscious choices that are more appropriate with my present and desired future.
I got lost in my own thoughts. I forgot I was with him. My sadness began to take over. Just then he disappeared. I was confused then thinking, “Why do people do this to me?” “Why do people treat me like that?”
Suddenly I heard him whisper my name… I opened my eyes, looked here and there then heard him saying… inside… look inside I am hear inside … I just closed my eyes again and suddenly felt calmer.
He was reciting Dale Wimbrow’s poem…
When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.
For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Whose judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear up to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.
I was tranced by the poem…
“Have you read the novel, Crime & Punishment” He asked
“Yes, but it’s been a while… why?” I replied
“You know the main lesson in it is simply this, ‘THE CRIME IS THE PUNISHMENT’ He continued “you see your ‘friend’ or whoever didn’t cheat you, in truth”
“I know what you mean and I think you are right” I said “But is it not natural… I mean is it not human to feel bad when people do bad things to you?”
“Remember I told you ‘self-love is the first and foremost and that you must love & accept yourself with all of your good and bad qualities’” He spoke as if ignoring my question.
‘Yes’ I whispered
“Well let me share with you a secret, ‘If you want to know yourself, you must love yourself’ because when you truly love yourself you will be your best friend, it does not mean you won’t need anyone else though… we need each other because we are humans… but It means you will … now let me ask you a question, have you ever met a mother who has a ‘disabled child’?” He asked
“Yes, I have” I replied
“Did you notice, she loves her child, even though the world may look at them differently but for the mother it does not matter. A truly, loving caring mother does not tell others to ‘exchange’ her child with theirs… she accepts the child as s/he is” He continued, “And you know what, this love makes the child feel stronger”
“But what does this have to do with loving myself?” By now I had forgotten that I was angry about something
“A lot” he replied, “You see just like a truly loving mother accepts her child as s/he is, when you love yourself you accept yourself as you are and you will find inner strength to fight back. And you will find others won’t be able to make you feel bad” He replied
“So I have to love my self the most… but that will make one selfish” I reacted
“NO. I never said that. I said Love yourself first NOT love yourself THE MOST” He clarified. “Love ALLAH the most and then HIS messenger (peace be upon him)” that’s part of our faith our Emaan. Then you love whoever you wish” He spoke like a loving caring parent this time, “You see, if you don’t have it, how can you give it to others. Does that make sense?”
“Sure, it does make a lot of sense” I said.
“I want you practice something, will you?” He asked me
“Like what?” I wanted to know before I make a commitment
“Everyday for next 7 days, at least once a day, I want you to stand in front of a mirror, close your eyes and recall a time when someone sincerely appreciated you or told you ‘I LOVE YOU’ and you know deep inside that they were telling you The TRUTH. As you recall that moment step into that memory see what you saw, hear what you were hearing, feel the moment intensely and open your eyes look into your eyes and say to yourself with total sincerity, ‘I LOVE YOU & I ACCEPT YOU AS YOU ARE” He told me, “Repeat 3 or more times each time and do this for at least five minutes every single day. Will you?”
“I will” I confirmed
“Good so let’s start now” He advised
“But I can’t think of a any person saying that to me at the moment” I resisted
“I LOVE YOU” he looked straight into my eyes as he said it with total sincerity
I was a bit confused to hear that. As if I had never heard this from anyone. As I mentioned earlier I had received more ‘mercy’ than love, REAL LOVE so it was an intense experience even accepting the idea that one can love me whole heartedly and with no desire to get anything from me in return. But he was very insistent. He had shaken me from within. He said, “Now you have an experience, go do the exercise”
I did it and for next seven days I repeated it several times. I was sure of one thing. He was my best friend and that HE LVOED ME for all that he had done to me. My life had begun to change in ways I didn’t realize then. Only few days later, some of my friends told me I looked younger, some thought I had a new haircut. All I knew was that I felt different, quite different and positive in many ways.
I got busy with things at hand and didn’t notice that “Shadow Man” was gone. But deep inside I knew… he will be there whenever I call.
I wanted to ask more question about like why people fall in love, if all love is same or is it different. I also wanted to understand other emotions like anger etc. My next meeting with him was another major turning point in my life.
To be continued…