Thursday, June 26, 2014

What do you do when an @$$hole throws rocks?

"[here] is an idea that is difficult for Westerners to accept: when someone harms us, they create their own suffering. They strengthen habits that imprison them in a cycle of pain and confusion.  …when they harm us, we unintentionally become the means of their undoing. Had they looked on us with loving-kindness, however, we’d be the cause of their happiness. 

But what’s true for them is also true for me. The way I regard those who hurt me today will determine how I experience the world in the future. In any encounter, we have a choice: we can strengthen our resentment or our understanding and empathy. We can widen the gap between ourselves and others or lessen it." *

Ask me about this most of the time and I'm all bobble-head smiley-face you betcha. Buddhism ROCKS! But tonight for a good long stretch of the drive home after a board meeting my gutter "French" got one hell of a workout.

Granted, I wasn't the only one. As we spilled out of the board room the air was positively blue. The atmosphere in the meeting was so taut you could have used it as a trampoline. There was a lawyer at the table, not for decoration, but to try and keep a lid on.

The person who was the cause for all the swearing is married to the person who was president of our board last year. She was doing a great job until she had a stroke which affected her ability to do the job properly. The board had to finally ask her to resign. This made her furious and her belligerent, domineering husband decided to avenge her honour by nominating himself to the new board with the intent of ripping us all (and me in particular) to shreds.

He sent a barrage of angry, verbally abusive e-mails even before the term's work began and tonight he criticized every breath I've drawn since joining the board several years ago. Everything bad that has happened since 2011 has been my fault. 

One of Buddha’s disciples went to him and said, “Master, what do I do about my enemies who throw rocks at me and call me names?”

Buddha said, “You have no enemies. Hatred is a defilement of the mind, a defilement you can mindfully overcome.”

This is my challenge. A test, as it were, not of my (ahem) "French" skills but of my ability to remain calm and compassionate while this 6' 7" man is looming over 5' 0" me, determined to intimidate me, since he blames me for ousting his wife, because as vice-president I had to finish out her term.

I want to experience the world in a positive light, not from a fearful and defensive position. I suspect by the end of this I will have learned a great deal more about mindfully overcoming the defilement of the mind which occurs when someone throws rocks at me and calls me names.

Or I will have taken up voo-doo, the kind where you make dolls, say incantations over them and stab them with pins. I'd say the chances are about 50/50.

*paraphrased from Pema Chödron's book No Time To Lose...


smm said...

Voodoo aside. I opt for writing out the name of person hurling the harm on a piece of paper. Crumple the paper into a ball, wrap the ball in tin foil. Next crumple the foil with enclosed crumpled paper and shove the thing into the freezer.....way at the back. Freeze out fire breathing dragon.

Worked for me. By the way it was also for a hostile condo board situation.

Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb said...

Okay, I'll try that again. It's a better idea than pointy objects. But my freezer is self-defrosting so the back gets hot and cold in turn. Best stick the tin-foil un-voo-doo where it will stay cold ALL the time.

Kizzie Kate said...

I think the Bible reflects a similar sentiment as the Buddha in Romans 12:20-21.
20 "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

The "burning coals" reference in the Bible illustrates that your refusal to fight back will wake up the dim conscience of your attacker like stoking hot embers will stir up a fire into warmth. Your kindness will prod them to be remorseful and have a changed heart.

Linda P. said...

I don't know if writing that post helped your mood, but it certainly brightened my day! First came the object lesson, one we all need from time to time, but then you tempered it with humor. The humor worked especially well since we all know that we sometimes experience those emotions, too.