Have you ever had a friend who you really don’t know why you kept them in your life other than to provide some false sense of security, love or connection? You know who I’m talking about, that person who always tries to “one up you”, criticizes everyone, poo poos your dreams and rarely has anything positive to say. Of course we’ve all had one or two of these people in our lives and we almost never forget them. Why? Because they form negative anchors (memories) that for some strange reason are really difficult to eliminate.
An interesting perspective from the Buddhist teachings elucidates that being led astray by evil friends (negative influences) is to be feared more than being killed by a mad elephant. “A mad elephant can only destroy our physical body, but evil friends, if we allow ourselves to be influenced by them, will drag us down into a state of Hell.”
I may meditate twice a day and do yoga twice a day, but its still a challenge to fend off evil people. Yes the mind can be easily swayed into a hellish state by the people we surround ourselves with and I’m no exception. I recently had an episode with someone I had known a long time ago, who I then ran into after a 15 year absence. I felt like I should have a connection since we knew each other as kids, but boy was I wrong. This person had drifted off into the dark side. Their actions were not exactly noble, rather they would chronically lie about anything that didn’t work in their favor and it was totally subconscious, they didn’t even know they were lying. Not only that but they had become possessed by money and went to great lengths to steal it from their ex-husband and stash it away for vacations and to buy a new pair of shoes every week.
My first encounter with this person was at Trader Joes where I was in line and saw this person who looked familiar. Instinctively I put my sun glasses on so I wouldn’t be recognized and hurried out without any communication. In hindsight I should’ve listened to my gut and never looked back, my internal evil radar had spotted evil and for a minute I listened. But I gave in to curiosity and sure enough this person found me online and contacted me. We began hanging out and long story short its one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I completely violated my values to hang out with someone who was clearly on the dark side, but of course my Buddha side said: “hey you can fix them.” Unfortunately this person was not fixable and it cost me a few years off my life just from the stress induced from this persons madness I dealt with.
What did I learn?
#1 Trust your Intuition.
This is difficult because its subtle, but if we use our tools of connecting to higher self regularly we can make great use of this intuition.
#2 Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by evil people
I learned that people who lie chronically and have no idea they are lying are worse than a Mad Elephant about to trample you in a cage… only if you allow yourself to be influenced by them. So my goal now is not to be influenced and stay connected to my source of infinite compassion, courage and wisdom as much of the day as possible. This means once again employing the tools of power including:
A) doing service for others,
B) daily use of some form of meditation to connect to source,
C) engage in physical exercise like yoga, surfing, hiking, biking or other to stay connected to the present through nature and self reflection
D) and finally studying spiritual and relationship books to get guidance and knowledge about why these things happen in the first place.
Above all I’m committed to never violate my values to fulfill my needs. It ain’t worth it. If I need friendship I go to a yoga studio or surround myself with people who are dedicated to service to others. Of course they tend to hang out in the yoga community, but there are other communities of people committed to service to others. Find them, seek them out, they will be your greatest allies.
Personally, I feel relieved, as I’m out of the grasp of this persons evil deranged neurotic behavior and reconnected to my source of infinite courage, wisdom and compassion. Speaking of which, I no longer take this persons evil personally, I see through to the deep suffering and insecurity of a person who hasn’t the strength nor resolve to battle their inner demons and become a great contributor to the world.