This is one of those “don’t forget this … and share far and wide.”
A few years back I was traveling on Amtrak from Orange County to Seattle to visit Jennifer (you’ll hear more about her down the road). Trains are great … way better than planes and cars. You get to spend hours together with people you’ve never met and probably will never see again. All you have is that single experience.
At the beginning of the trip, I met and sat next to a young man who happened to be a Buddhist. Now he didn’t look like the stereotypical Buddhist; no shaved head, no robe … just kinda look like I looked twenty-five years ago (except probably better looking). For miles we talked, ate and talked some more.
Note: Coincidentally, I did meet two “typically looking Buddhists” the next morning a few hundred miles up the road after being left a train station; That’s different story for different day.
One of topics of our conversation was his girlfriend – who lived with him on a Buddhist compound outside of San Diego. Over the last couple of months their relationship had declined. She would come home from work in a surely mood and stayed that way through the night. “What was wrong and what had he done to cause her malaise.”
“What can I do to make you happy,” was the pretty much how every evening began.
At wits end, my new Buddhist friend went to his monk for advise.
This is it:
“How can you be so arrogant and self-absorbed that you think everything in her life revolves around you and is caused by you.”
The next time you beat yourself up over something having to do with somebody else, try empathizing – look at the world from their perspective.
Believe it or not – it may not be about you.
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