The Care and Feeding of Criticism

Consciousness, Psychology, Spirituality

At times, we all fear criticism and give it a power it should not have. We do this by making it into some ghastly bogeyman, who we believe will murder us soundlessly in our sleep if we so much as let our guard down, even for the smallest of seconds.  Instead, we need to become as intimate as possible with it, and powerfully transform it into a bosom buddy. Take what we formerly believed to be negative, and turn it into a loving companion. Yes; you should take criticism and grind it up into the finest of powders, and even enjoy doing so, but not before you have learned what you need to learn from it; because, as you will find out, criticism has way too much to impart to you. So, do not discard its lessons until you first completely internalize them, and then you can transmute its energy into unicorn dust.  We should not let it affect us negatively in the slightest way, nor should we even perceive it to be negative in the first place. We do this by trying really hard to see what its gifts are, and there are a number of possibilities here.  Let me just suggest a few to you. Use these merely as suggested spiritual exercises to be used in that wonderful playground we call the human mind. You could expand on them, and then come up with your own ideas. It is always wonderful to discover new ways to transmute negative energy into its polar opposite. The only thing limiting you is your own imagination, as they say.

Employ as many imaginative devices as you can think of to perform this alchemy.  Be whimsically creative and have as much fun as you can possibly muster up. And, whatever you do, do not live in stark, raving fear of criticism. Because, as you might not know, criticism has ever so much to teach us. Too often, however, we give criticism a power over us that it should not have in the first place. We do this by giving it a reality it has no right to possess, and then, we give it carte blanche to assume a particularly malicious form of beingness. When you find criticism to be unbearable, those nastily unreasoning words that others have the audacity to say about you, go all the way into this process, and turn it into a living, breathing persona. By turning the critical words coming from the mouth of another human being into an entity unto itself, you are detaching yourself from the negativity that you perceive to be in the other person.  You are then free to see this person apart from the mental conceptualization you think defines him, but is not who he really is. You are divorcing yourself from what you perceive are the intention of the words. This is a wonderful spiritual exercise. So, after you create a body for it, you have it sit across from you at your dining room table and invite the insults that compose its energetic body to come hurling at you like fiery meteors from the heart of the galactic core of hate.

These might be words so vile, that they would instantaneously wither up a rhododendron, leaving nothing but the faintest memory. Let the negative energy pass harmlessly through the walls of your soul, and let it come out, miraculously filtered by your spirit, to the other side. Let the energy go through you, without wounding you in even the slightest possible way. Sit there and take it. You’re a big boy or girl – you got this. By doing this, your ego will soften up like silly putty taken out of the freezer, and put on a hot griddle. Or, alternatively, our egos will just wither up and die, like that poor little rhododendron, replaced by an exquisite vulnerability and softness. By doing this, you will become a much better person, and learn to see that people are more than the words that they say. Criticism, then, is like a specter – a shadow both formless, and without substance. It is a mental projection which sometimes encapsulates a nugget of truth. Or, if you’d like, it is a fangless, old rattlesnake just skulking away into the darkness.  You know that just because somebody says something, that does not make it true. It is only true from their very limited perspective. But maybe looking at it through their eyes is something that you need to know. Do not look a gift horse in the mouth. You might think that criticism is utter garbage. But, you are probably mistaken. And, if you think of it this way, you will be totally oblivious to its hidden lessons. So, let’s do another exercise, shall we? Turn that same negative energy into metaphorical garbage. Do it now. There you go.

Now, drudge sloppily through the refuse and look for the glittering truth that must be there somewhere, if your eyes are clear enough to see it. Wade through the old fish bones and the pork rind packaging. Push the old, faded plastic water bottles aside, but be ever so careful of the hypodermic needles. You know that medical waste does not belong in a landfill, but not everybody does. You wonder what the needles represent as imaginative symbols, but no matter; you slog onwards, and set aside the dilapidated window pane moldy with slime, that came from a house built in the 1700s, and mercilessly torn down to its very foundation. You are now going to dig really deep until you have located what you came here to find.  There – you found a single glittering diamond of truth. You might have to shine it up a bit, wipe off a bit of industrial sledge that is toxic beyond belief, to restore its original luster. But, that single jewel that you found is quite enough, and can change your life infinitely for the better. Now, you must peer deep within the scintillating facets, to see what the message is trying to say to you.

Perhaps the message is that you need to let criticism roll off of you, like water off of a kind of proverbial water fowl whom we all know and love. Maybe you pick it up, and suddenly have an epiphany that ultimately, criticism has no reality of its own, and is therefore harmless. Or, perhaps peering into the diamond of universal truth makes you realize that you have been too much of a slave to implied criticism. This is when somebody says something that deeply offends your most cherished sensibilities. The person did not directly criticize you. What should you do in this case? Perhaps your very first impulse is to never talk to them every again. Maybe even utterly delete the faintest memory of their existence from your brain cells. They said something that did not sit well with you at all. Somebody, some idiotic Republican maybe, who the mere sight of makes you regret even being alive – because you’re a Democrat, and you know unequivocally that you are on the right side of truth – said something so unbelievably stupid, that you want to scream. But hold on there, young fella. Back up, and take a deep breath, because you should not be so quick to reject that divergent opinion. The universe might be telling you that you need to add some layers of nuance to your hardened belief structures. Take that statement, and consider why the person said it, and where he or she is coming from. Show a little empathy, and try to come up with some sort of explanation as to why the brainless imbecile would verbalize something so amazingly insipid. Take in account all of the possibilities, including his life journey up until this point. Put the statement in that context, and perhaps you will learn something. Also, do you not realize that this criticizer, this personage whom you perceive to be a mortal enemy, is actually a loving friend?

With different eyes, you could see him as a teacher who will teach you much. For that, you should give him at least a big, slobbery kiss. He just made your day, and you do not even know it. For hurling critical barbs directly at your jugular, you should also give him an enormous hug that engulfs his very soul. Then, you should go down to that Italian bakery on East St. – I think it’s called Borgo’s – and buy the little bastard a dozen jelly donuts. Because, if you can take his words and not faint dead away, your ego is well on its way to shriveling up and dying. So allow his words to pass harmlessly through your body. Lastly, but most importantly, peer into his eyes, and see the intrinsic goodness that lies within. Notice that he is more than the role he is playing. At this moment, you notice just the faintest of glimmers. There is a gentleness of spirit here that lies just underneath the acrimonious façade. By doing this, you are cultivating the skill of seeing beyond the illusory veil of reality, right smack into another dimension of being. This is an essential skill of any spiritual warrior worthy of her or his salt. You can even start to see the infinite wonderfulness that is in the worst human beings this planet has to offer.

Now, you are ready to disintegrate all that garbage (remember the garbage?) with the most intense laser beam that you can imagine coming out of your eyes. Turn it into nothing but pure energy, and then, gather up that energy and transmute it to a higher frequency. Use it for your own evolutionary process. Criticism has now been profoundly changed, and its energy powerfully altered. Now you can use that energy in a zillion different ways. Gather all of that wonderful gooey energy that is the consistency of etheric peanut butter into an orb and smear it all over yourself. Now you have raised your vibrational rate a few octaves, and the universe is a slightly better place for you having done so. You’ve done the universe and yourself a favor. The universe owes you one. What was previously perceived as negative was turned into something positive. A trillion angelic voices rejoice eternally, in a celestial dimension just adjacent to our own, whenever we find a way to do this. Next time somebody hurls criticism your way you can employ this process instantaneously in a microsecond by immediately skimming the glittering diamond of truth off the top and converting the negative energy of criticism into sparkling pure spiritual energy. So pure – as if it just emanated from the holiest of mountain streams in some ethereal radiant valley. The energy bubbles out of the ground. It arose from negativity and transformed into something so holy and good it would take your breath away. This then, in a nutshell, is the care and feeding of criticism. Let this be a guide of sorts.