January 18th 2017 A crowd, an accuser, and you…the accused.
January 18th 2017
A crowd, an accuser, and you…the accused.
The Wednesday night class will be taught by Paul, senior teacher at LG.
We will work through Verse 15 and its commentary in Reflections on Silver River, Ken McLeod’s translation of Tokmé Zongpo’s Thirty-seven Practices of a Bodhisattva.
Here’s Verse 15:
Even if someone humiliates you and denounces you
In front of a crowd of people,
Think of this person as your teacher
And humbly honor him – this is the practice of a bodhisattva.
Commentary By Paul
I was walking briskly to my next meeting in the office. I needed to get there on time and was running it close to the wire. As I walked past all my colleagues in our open-concept office space, one of my co-workers, a bull of a man, stepped in front of me, blocking my way. His body was rigid. My body immediately felt the impact of that rigidity and wanted to go rigid too. His voice was angry and loud: “Who do you think you are! You don’t get to decide the layout of the office!” My face contorts in confusion. My throat tenses up a little bit. My mind jumped back to try to figure out what he was talking about. An earlier conversation with his teammate discussing how we might rearrange where we sit in the office flashes through my mind. He’s misinterpreting things and overreacting. I am sad that he is upset, sad that there was some obvious miscommunication, and feel a lit bit of a loss of trust because he let himself get out of control. I need to get to the meeting. “Ok” I say and make my way around him to get to my meeting.
In a previous life, this interaction would have gone much differently for me. I would have either 1) tried to defend myself and would have gotten in a shouting match to defend myself or 2) been totally embarrassed and would have been very apologetic. Instead, I saw he was in reaction and did my best to de-escalate the situation.
Later that day he apologized to me and we had a chance to discuss what actually happened. I also suggested he may want to consider sending a note to everyone within earshot as well as they may have felt less safe around him.
Why didn’t I go into reaction when I was accused? When we follow the Five Mindfulness Trainings in regards to behavior, we develop a knowing that we are not to blame for other people’s suffering. Then when others accuse us of things, we will be able to see they are in reaction and do something to help the situation. If we do not follow the Five Mindfulness Trainings – and we know that we did something in our own self-interest without taking others into account, something that could hurt others – then when we are accused we will go into reaction and try to defend, disappear, ignore, evade, stubbornly stand our ground, charm our way out of it, or attack.
Just because you can see the other person in reaction, it doesn’t make it easier. It is painful. It requires courage and willingness to be there in that moment. But I have found that doing anything else ends up being more difficult. This is one way to regard your accuser as your teacher.
All the best,