The difference between a worldly person and a spiritual person is which life they are working for. Worldly people work to enjoy good effects in this life. Spiritual people use this life to create good causes for their future lives. The road of our future lives is endless and it is guaranteed. The road of this life is indefinite, and it could end at any time. It doesn’t matter at all what happens in this life, any more than it matters what happened in last night’s dream. We are so obsessed with what we are “feeling.” Who cares what we are feeling? What difference does it really make? It is only because we think we are important that we think what we feel is important. But the self we think we are doesn’t even exist, so how could its happiness possibly be important? And even if it was important, what is more important this one fleeting life or our countless future lives? There comes a time in our normal life where we work hard now to have things easier in the future. We voluntarily endure the sufferings of University so that we can get a good job and have a better life thereafter. We happily work hard and save up our money to go on a special trip. This involves sacrifice in the short run, which we gladly accept because we know the rewards are greater on the other side. Such is the optic of the spiritual practitioner.
We cannot blame others for being so inconsiderate and harmful to us. It is not their fault. They don’t even exist, they are just karmic echoes of our own past harmful and selfish behavior. We have nobody to blame but our past delusions which drove us to negativity. If we did not have the karma on our mind to be harmed, nobody would even appear to harm us. Our negative karma propels them to harm us. When they do so, they create negative karma for themselves and they will suffer in the future. From our side, if we accept the suffering, we purify our negative karma and so are better off; but from their side they accumulate negative karma and will have to experience similar suffering (or worse) in the future. So who is better off and who is worse off. It is we who should be saying sorry to them.
This does not mean we should allow others to abuse us and take advantage of us. There is a middle way between being a doormat and being a raging lunatic. We do not help people by allowing them to abuse us, so we must break the cycle. But we also don’t help them by retaliating, which just causes the cycle of mutual harm to continue. Ghandi showed the middle way. We accept the harm, but we refuse to cooperate with its wrong purpose. We accept the harm as purification, but we don’t reward it by giving people what they want. Blackmail only works when we give in. If we refuse to give in, even if people throw everything they have at us, then we break the cycle. We accept the harm in the short run to be free from it in the long run. If people blackmail us and we don’t give in, they may try to blackmail us again in the future, but both they and we will know it won’t succeed. We have stared them down once before, and we can do so again. Eventually they give up trying. This helps them and it helps us.
Of course, if we can avoid others harming us we should do so. There are enough instances of people harming us where we cannot avoid it that we don’t need to needlessly expose ourselves to harm that is avoidable. Sometimes not cooperating with others delusions means ending that particular relationship. We do not stick around with others abusing us if we can leave. But for the harm we cannot avoid, or for the harm that is too insignificant to warrant ending the relationship over, we accept it and refuse to cooperate with it. We shouldn’t go to extremes with this. In general, we should go along with others wishes as long as they are not harmful. We don’t expect others to be perfect and always completely free form harm. We need to accept others mistakes and give people the space to change. But on important things, we need to fearlessly say no and not give in.