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Thread: Your tranquility really pisses me off.

  1. #1

    Your tranquility really pisses me off.

    My fianceť's brother was unjustly fired the other day (worked six days a week, perfect performance ratings, no warnings, and told he "wasn't committed"). I was pretty ticked off, my fianceť was really upset, and we spoke about it, then i did my best to help her brother get packed up and moved out (his job provided housing and he was evicted, told sometime around noon he was not allowed to sleep there that night. His significant lives with him, which made it that much more trying). The next day he and i went back and packed up the rest of their stuff.

    During this time, when my fianceť was not working she was frequently venting her frustrations over this situation. On Day three, she's still very upset and i am continuing to do my best to console her, but not outwardly impassioned. After all, it didn't seem it would do any good, and her brother tends to feel the same about it as I do. The group he worked for wasn't ever very nice to him, anyway.

    So she says to me, "Sometimes you Buddhists are really annoying," or something of very similar sentiment, referring to my apparent comfort with and acceptance of the situation.

    Has anyone else experienced similar remarks? Should i be more outwardly belligerent about this sort of thing? I will admit that I did contact a lawyer immediately after hearing the news (mostly to allay my frustrations and accept that little could be done) and have considered the whole thing repeatedly. Now I am simply trying to help him find a house and a new job.

    On an entertaining note, my fianceť and i spend winters in Colorado and summers in Michigan. Although she owns a house here (in Michigan) we live with her folks so she can rent her house. Her brother and his significant other are now living with us here. Thus, both of her parents' children (who are thirty plus) are living under their roof with their significant others. You don't get that too often in the States anymore, especially when all four "kids" have lived on their own for ten years or more.

  2. #2

    Re: Your tranquility really pisses me off.

    Do her parents have a Buddhist tranquility about all of you living there? :mrgreen:

    Being "belligerent" as in being hostile and spoiling for a fight rarely helps things. But sometimes being assertive is absolutely vital... there can be a fine line. Some people need a more intensive show of "assertiveness" than others to get the point. But yelling and freaking out rarely impresses others or gets things done. I find that firmly standing my ground, taking action to remedy problematic situations, and using clear, assertive language is usually the most that is needed.

    It sounds like in your almost-brother-in-law's situation that there is some injustice and were I in his position I would not simply back down. This sort of practice on behalf of his company not only showed no consideration for him whatsoever, but will continue to be problematic as he searches for a new job and needs references. It's also likely other employees will get this sort of treatment. It could be the economy, it could be any number of things, but it doesn't sound like the reason they gave him was legit. That said, there are always two sides to the story, and for all we know, the guy could be a raging alcoholic who was taking Bukowski-style two-hour "lunch breaks" at the closest bar...

    I actually asked a Buddhist teacher in dokusan one time how to avoid making mistakes when making important decisions (I was pretty naive at the time, still thinking Buddhist teachers could answer such questions :lol. I was having a hard time with relationships, with figuring out my direction in life, with a lot of things, and it seemed to me if I was a little wiser I wouldn't be having all these problems. He told me that the best you can do is research the situation or context you're making a decision about as carefully and thoroughly as you can before making a decision, follow through, and if you end up being mistaken or doing something that doesn't work so well or is hurtful, atone for it as best you can... take responsibility but acknowledge it's impossible not to make mistakes, and move on.

    I found this to be a pretty mundane answer at the time, almost "non-Buddhist"--his answer was to analyze a situation a lot first? Aren't you supposed to, like, sit in zazen for a million hours, attain a state of perfect no-mind, and then spontaneously be able to take the perfect action? :lol: But over time, I've realized just how valuable this answer was. Because it's not just passive, saying that mistakes are inevitable and we can't do anything to have a better chance of making a good decision, but that the best we can do is educate ourselves first. So often we do not do this... another problem with being belligerent and immediately taking a person's side is that they may be taking advantage of our credulity. They may have some cards under the table that they're not showing. So I've learned to practice a little more restraint before jumping in on behalf of someone I see as "wronged" with all of the reason and cool-headedness of a pitbull :lol:

    It sounds to me like you handled the situation well. You offered help where it was needed, supported people as you could. Ultimately it's your ABIL's responsibility to address any injustice there may have been about the situation. It's understandable that your fiancee would get frustrated with you as you're not mirroring back her state of mind and thus making her feel perhaps you are not quite in full alliance with her, but you certainly wouldn't be helping anyone by running around freaking out a lot just to make others feel better about doing the same.

    The funny thing I've found about the sort of thing you describe in general is that I've had so many people comment on how cool-headed I am, how matter-of-fact, even how "sane." If only they knew! Good Lord! :lol: Though it is true I came to New York and right away adapted to crazy sermons on the subway, men in pink shorts asking, "Will you have sex with me?" and people screaming expletives at each other in every language that exists with hardly a raised eyebrow :mrgreen:

  3. #3

    Re: Your tranquility really pisses me off.

    Wow - I wish I had your problem.

    No, I'm often accused of not actually being Buddhist - or at least of being a very bad Buddhist. I just always tell those people, 'You don't know where I started.'

    So if people are annoyed at your tranquility, take it as a compliment.


  4. #4

    Re: Your tranquility really pisses me off.

    Long time no see!

    Once before a loved one lashed out at me because I "never react" or "get emotional" about things anymore. I disagreed of course (I think I react plenty!), but I understood what she meant.

    I've since learned that sometimes, when with loved ones in periods of trouble, compassion means sharing in their tears or anguish or frustration. Empathy can be more comforting than the serenest sympathy.


  5. #5

    Re: Your tranquility really pisses me off.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Having had time for it to settle in for a while now, I asked the young lady about it and she admitted that it made her laugh just a little inside when she said it, and when i stated it as I have for this thread she found it even funnier.

    I admit I was a bit concerned that my practice might be showing a negative consequence in the world around me, but we're all straightened out now.


  6. #6

    Re: Your tranquility really pisses me off.

    This is a good time to remind folks that our 'crazy Buddhist wisdom' lets us to be moving (while still) on several seemingly incongruous tracks at once.

    Our way of acceptance need not be passivity. Far from it! Our ability to taste inner stillness and silence need not leave us cold, uncaring, shut off, anesthetized toward the world. We can be still (inside) while moving (outside), accepting and not resisting (on inner track 1) while not accepting and resisting (on outer track two). All at once, not two (no inside or outside in the end). Wu-wei-wu (a lovely Taoist/Zen term) ... ... weidef.htm

    Sometimes we will choose to take no action and be passive, sometimes we will choose to take action and move forward (but, in either case, we are still within). Our choice, either is fine. The universe is the same, and complete, where we get up or stay in bed!

    So, we offer comfort, aid, advice, solace, we truly empathize and "feel" the pain of others ... all the while as we are still inside, at peace inside, tranquil. All at once, without conflict.

    We tend to avoid anger, harsh speech, retribution and such ... we reject violence where at all possible ... but we need not be push overs, patsies or ignore a wrong. (Take it from me who combines Buddhist practice with, though now retired, being a hard boiled lawyer from New York.)

    It does not mean, by the way, that we always will act the "right" way, always know the "right" thing to say, or never make mistakes ... It just means that we do the best we can, moving while still.

    Non-Zen folks might think you have to be X or Y, but we are XY (or non-XY) at once! No problem!

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS- My being a lawyer in this life is the result of Karma working out from many bad acts in a past life. If I am very good in this life, I might come back as something better next life, like a snake, slug or a rat. :?

  7. #7

    Re: Your tranquility really pisses me off.

    I know what you all mean.
    it sometimes seems to me that some people find a easy attitude and acceptance of things not compatible with modern life.
    and when people get angry and you dont it just drives them crazy.
    i find it a bit funny...
    although i do lose my temper from time to time and i just accept it and let it be. and know i will calm down afterward.
    it just happens and it is just what it is.

    Daniel, who is off to sit zazen in the middle of the night.

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