I once read an article by Jack Kornfield (author and Buddhist practicioner) , he was telling the story of how he managed to get through the meetings with the lawyers as he was going through his divorce. He wanted the proceedings to be as "kind" as they could possibly be under the circumstances but these things hardly ever are that easy, when there are strong emotions, shared possessions and old wounds at play. So he said, just before entering the room he used to imagine that he had the Buddha on his left shoulder and the Dalai Lama on his right. What would he say and how would he behave if these two venerable people were actually there right beside him?
Sadly this reading only came into my mind well after a brief altercation at the swimming pool this morning! The pool was really NOT busy today, plenty of space for everyone to enjoy a quiet session but somehow I managed to upset one of the people in my lane. She was adamant I was swimming in the wrong portion of the lane and well... I was adamant that SHE was! So we had a couple of exchanges , I then told her in no uncertain terms that she was wrong and I was right and then swam away!
HOLDING ON TO ANGER IS LIKE DRINKING POISON AND EXPECTING THE OTHER PERSON TO DIE
Needless to say I did not enjoy the rest of my swim, although I did swim rather fast!Somehow despite all my knowledge of the human tendency to hold on to un-helfpul emotions I still fell right into it!
My Ego raising its ugly head and deciding that it is actually "better to be RIGHT than to be KIND"
And so I lost count of my lenghts and did not enjoy the experience and decided it was time to go home and stew a little longer. I sat by the pool for a while reflecting on my emotions and how I just let them run wild for a second and how I could have chosen to RESPOND rather than REACT to the incident , and then left feeling utterly disappointed with myself.
As I was unchaining my bike outside the pool that Jack Kornfield episode I mentioned at the start came into my mind together with another famous Buddhist saying : when you come across someone who is unpleasant to you , you have found your teacher ...meaning that challenging people can often teach you a lot about yourself and how your ego is so easily worked up , making you say and do things which are not helpful in return. So there it is ... there is my work ...my continuous practice.
So although I may not have done very well today with my mindful kindness practice, I forgive myself and resolve to always have that Buddha on my shoulder reminding me that I am better than my Ego and that I can breath and pause and be kind... can you relate ?
Love and light to all beings
lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu