"I must emphasize again that merely thinking that compassion and reason and patience are good will not be enough to develop them. We must wait for difficulties to arise and then attempt to practice them.
And who creates such opportunities? Not our friends, of course, but our enemies. They are the ones who give us the most trouble, So if we truly wish to learn, we should consider enemies to be our best teacher!" ~ His Holiness, The 14th Dalai Lama
This quote really struck home this week/weekend! I was really surprised at the little things that really set me off, I'm ashamed to admit. But every time I'm in a situation like that, I think about this quote. I spent literally hours on the phone with DirecTv over bill issues/an extreme amount of money being taken out of my bank account- each person I talked to was seemingly unhelpful, rude, and transferring me purposely to the wrong departments. I was almost in tears, and almost extremely unkind, and definitely thinking MORE than unkind thoughts. Even went so far as to "revenge" thoughts towards the company. Just little things I could do to annoy them. Automated phone systems, and large corporations where I can't talk to someone who knows what's up really get to me, to the core, the minute a robot voice comes on. I was definitely not very compassionate! Opportunity to practice #1. I took a step back, and was extremely polite to the next few people, and had some results. Not the best, but not bad.
Sometimes your enemies are closer to home, too, though. For instance my dogs. They destroyed an impressive amount when left alone for only a few hours. My first feelings was concern, and the minute I saw they were okay, I became so angry, which was so pointless as they don't even understand what they did! I didn't take it out on them at all, of course, but what an uncomfortable feeling to be going through my head. I did not roll with the situation well and was definitely overcome. Opportunity to practice #2. I went into the bedroom, sat for some time, let things go, then went out and gave the dogs love. After all, my initial concern was their health- did they eat anything in the garbage that could poison them?? I had just cleaned out the fridge, after all. The one dog locked himself in the bathroom- did he drink the mop water I had left in haste? How the heck he did that I won't figure out- I had made sure the door was securely closed when I left the house (due to mop water/cleaning supplies being around.) My initial reaction to the situation was fine, just worry, but the following anger was not. So I sat, and after I was calm reflected on my initial emotion. I then acted off of that, not the anger, which led to RELIEF- no one was harmed! Left the mess to clean up until today.
Then there are the myriad little things- in a social situation, my husband accidentally cut me off twice in about 30 seconds, and I snapped at him (which is unlike him and rather unlike me, to the contrary of this confession post.) To through in a little funny aside, I had posted on Facebook that I was undertaking the precepts, and a few friends joked that I forgot the "Lloyd factor." He's the one super close friend that enjoys pushing my buttons- and he was in the car when I snapped. They joked that he would be a trigger and a test!!!
But really, aren't all these big and little scenarios that we face in daily life incredible blessings? I remember hearing a story about TNH torching a student's hut because they were too attached to their solitude. Things were too easy there! Don't know the truth to that story, but the point is there.
http://www.ted.com/talks/robert_thur...ompassion.html Robert Thurman rather wittily tells the story here of Asanga (the whole video is more than worth watching, but that story starts at 03:05.) He goes on retreat, for multiple long periods of time, but because he is living in a cave and not actually practicing and understanding he just isn't getting it right, despite the devotion!
Anyone else have confessions to make on trigger situations?? Those wonderful opportunities to practice?
To throw in a positive, my job has been an awesome opportunity to practice- I work in detox with the mental health group out here, and I get called in to work at all hours. It is so EASY to be grumpy at 2am when you are shaking off sleep to go to.. dun dun dun... WORK, but I look at my job as helping people and worked on changing that outlook. When I did that, I was more engaged, and better able to get people in to treatment for their addictions- voila! Awesome opportunity, that happened to come with an immense reward!
Okay gonna wrap up this long post now,
PS. I'm rather new to Treeleaf so please don't get the impression that I am an angry person. These situations are few and far between, which is why they stand out so much to me and worry me. I know the exact date of the last time I acted so.. icky! Just a disclaimer