I wanted to relate something that occurred to me the other day. I write this as a testament to the metamorphosis that this Practice can begin, and that sometimes its effects are so subtle that we barely even notice it until later.
On Friday of last week, I sent an email to a co-worker about another email I had to audit for professionalism and such. The email had some issues with it, that I felt could be misinterpreted by the reader. As the auditor, this email had a problem one way or the other, either it was an intentional thing, which means the representative wasn’t being professional as they were expected to be, and the supervisor should address that; or the representative made a typo and should be reminded to double check their work before sending a communication to a member.
I was careful in my email to ensure that I explained my thought process, as I find it is best to think about questions the other person my have about my point of view and answer them in the initial email. The response I got back was that “I’m pretty sure it was a typo, to the detailed lecture probably wasn’t necessary.”
Now, prior to my beginning this Practice, I would have become angry and probably responded with an email that was littered with passive aggressive remarks, and a snide tone, but in a way that wouldn’t get me in trouble.
I found, however, that my response was completely different. My first thought was, “I wonder what I said that made it seem like I was lecturing her. I should go talk to her so that she understands that that wasn’t at all my intention.” On my way up to her office to apologize for the misunderstanding, I found out that she wasn’t in the office that day. I asked another supervisor if they knew where she was, and I was told she was at the hospital with her father who had just gone into conjunctive heart failure.
Immediately, I emailed her back and offered my sympathy and any help I could.
The point is many fold here. First, we can’t know what has happened to another person to cause their actions or reactions to be what they are, so it is important to have compassion towards all beings. Also, that even though we keep and hold no thought of change or progress or reward in this practice, the effects of it cannot be denied. It was only after I sat and wondered this morning how my co-worker’s father was doing, that I realized the difference between how I would have reacted long ago versus my instinctive reaction now. Anger and hurt pride became concern and compassion, completely and naturally.
On that note as well, I emailed her this morning to ask after her father, and I have not received a response. I would ask, if you could, to include both her and her father in your thoughts and chants.