“Hurt people hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break the chain today.” ― Yehuda Berg
I had a beautiful conversation with Dave Elleray this week. Dave is a kind, gentle man who exudes warmth and compassion. A man who has traversed the globe, sharing the understanding of the Principles with a diverse range of communities. From working with the survivors of the 2016 earthquake in Nepal to the disenfranchised townships of South Africa. No one would have guessed that Dave was once a troubled youth who struggled with depression, anxiety, and uncontrollable anger. To compensate for his insecurities, Dave drank and used drugs to escape. The combination of his substance abuse and anger ended in violence, which resulted in him spending time in prison. Dave describes himself in those days as a “hard man.”
Although Dave grew up in a loving family, he remembers being an anxious, fearful kid. He was a late bloomer, a scrawny kid who was small for his age. When Dave was eleven-years-old, he looked up to the bigger lads who appeared hard and confident. He thought there was safety in being big. Dave wanted to be like them. He wanted big shoulders and big arms, and he wanted to be as hard as they were. As a teenager, Dave spent hours in the gym. Before long, he achieved what he had set out to be. A hard man with big shoulders and big arms. A hard man who intimidated his way through life to get what he wanted. A hard man who ended up in prison.
Dave spent the first thirty-three years of his life believing that being hard was the way to survive. He now sees that anyone who thinks they need to bully and intimidate their way through life is an insecure fearful person. They innocently don’t know any better. They are missing the essence of life. They are so wrapped up in their thought created illusion that the world is a dangerous place, they feel they need to muscle and intimidate their way through it.
These days Dave is back in prison, but this time as a 3 Principles Practitioner, sharing his journey with young men just like himself. Beautiful people who, out of fear and insecurity, found themselves making choices that resulted in incarceration. Tattooed faced boys, gang members who break down in tears when Dave shares how the Principles has transformed his life. Dave is not alone, and neither are the young men with whom he works. Our prisons are full of young people who grew up not seeing any other way out of their pain. My heart goes out to the young people who suffer, not knowing that there is a world out there that is safe and loving, a place where they don’t need to build a false persona of toughness to cover up their hurt and fear.
As the saying goes, “hurt people, hurt people.” I should know. In my younger days, I was a hurt person who hurt others. In my twenties, I left a lot of wreckage in my wake. My insecurities controlled me. I wasn’t a tough girl. I didn’t beat people up, steal from them, or end up in prison for my mistakes. No, none of that. But I did hurt people. My self-obsession and need to protect myself hurt others. My hypersensitivity to perceived threats entitled me to attack back. I withheld my love as a punishment. My heart was closed and tightly guarded — a bleeding heart wrapped in barbwire. Self-preservation was my mantra.
As I look back, I can hardly recognize the young woman I once was. I am so different now. Years of therapy, studying spirituality, and becoming a mother have all helped mellowed me out. But like Dave, the most significant contribution to my emotional growth was coming across the 3 Principles. Once I knew that my experience of life was coming to me via my thinking, I stopped trying to control everything on the outside. Once I knew who I was at my essence, pure love, peace, and joy, there was no need to protect myself. Once I knew that I was resilient, I saw there was no need to guard my heart. Once I knew I was equal to everyone else, I stopped comparing myself to others. Once I saw the scary world I lived in was made of thought, I stopped being afraid. And as such, there was no longer a need to hide and defend myself.
With love and appreciation, Del 💕