The gift of troublemakers

Whenever there is a disturbance, there is an invitation to become more familiar with what is happening… from the awakeness side and from the form side.

I wasn’t there, but some new folks came to a local spiritual group this week and asked questions of the teacher which apparently upset some of the old timers. They should have read the teacher’s biography before coming. They should be more respectful. They should go somewhere else if they don’t like it. They shouldn’t ask those type of questions.

I usually find it refreshing and exiting when people break the rules of a group I belong to, even if there is discomfort as well.

What are some of the gifts of troublemakers?

  • They serve as a mirror for everyone there. Can I find in myself what I see in them? In what ways am I disrespectful, argumentative, obsessive? Maybe I do silently what they do openly? Maybe I do it in other situations? Maybe I do it towards them?
  • They shake things up, breake and make visible the norms & unwritten rules of society or the particular group. In this way, they invite us to notice these norms and question them for ourselves individually and as a group.
  • They allow us to see how it is dealt with by the teacher, group and individuals in the group, as a test and mirror. Whatever comes up from anyone involved is something we can find in ourselves, whether it seems to come from reactiveness, confusion & obscuration or receptivity, wisdom & heart. And it also highlights the level of skills we have for dealing with this in ourselves, others and at a group level.
  • It brings attention to group shadows. They may express views, emotions and ways of behaving marginalized by the group and the group norms, speaking for others in the group who themselves won’t bring it up. In this way, there is an invitation to notice and address group shadows individually and as a group.
  • Whatever is brought up most likely has some grain of truth in it. Can I find it? How fluid is my relationship the stories and identities brought to attention here?

All of this relates to different forms of shadows…. The shadow of habitual and unquestioned stories, norms, rules, ways of behaving, and so on, and these show up at individual and group levels.

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