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 Blooming Stars

Dealing with People

            'Treating others the way you like to be treated' is a good principle, that is derived from the Golden Law ("Do to others what you like others to do to you"), is the best way to deal with people. This means treating others with honesty, fairness, respect, and a good measure of empathy together with a right attitude. Recently there was an instance in our ashram. One of the employees who had been the supervisor, and who had left the ashram on his own due to continuous problems he created for the manager and the other employees, called me on the phone. I listened to him, corrected him with regard to certain wrong facts he heard about an ashram member. Among other things he also stated that a person who is still an employee of the ashram maligned him, spreading false information about him. I told him that I would check with that employee and get back with him.

            The fact this former employee called me and I listened to him created a disturbing commotion in the ashram. In the evening during satsang (gathering of saints/ashramites for sharing and prayer) this matter came up. One of the important members questioned me and wanted to know why he called. She felt as he had a history of trouble-making I should not have listened to him. My answer was that I did not for sure know why he called, that anyone can call me and I feel free to listen to that person, that I do not make someone else's problem my problem, and that he could not make problems in the ashram without our permission. The aggrieved member was not satisfied with the answer I gave, and kept on accusing me saying that I do not take into account the great love the ashram members have for me, and I believe what the former employee said and not her and the other ashram members. My saying that this had nothing to do with believing what he said did not comfort her, and she stormed out of the satsang in emotional turmoil.

            I discuss the above incident in detail as I find this kind of situations all too common in our everyday life. There seems to be a general expectation in society that my friend's "enemy" should be my "enemy". There seems to be a general thinking that others can create problems for us without our allowing or letting them happen. When Christ, the great teacher that he was, said: "Love your enemies" I do not think he also meant that we should like them. May be if our heart is open in loving them, we may also end up liking them as our love-energy could trigger change in them for the better. We also have situations where our former enemies have become our friends. We tend to judge people from their past history alone, and do not allow any room for them to change. We have heard great stories of people's conversions and change.

            Allowing room for change even in the most hard-hearted criminal in the world might mean we have an optimistic view of the world that is more salubrious and realistic, in any case, than a pessimistic one. That people who created problems for us in the past cannot talk to us may mean that we have un-resolved issues related to that person, or at least we are closed to that population. There may also be some anxiety or even lingering fear that that person could create further problems. But then that speaks more about our own mental state or weak mind for that matter. May be that former problem employee wanted an empathically listening ear to vent his feelings. And just venting his feelings might keep him from other problems. Anyway after telling him and reminding him of some bitter truths, for which he has not still taken responsibility, he still wants to keep in touch with me, and even see me. He may or he may not change. My connectedness to him might even mean some hope for him. When even one individual changes a bit for the better, the world changes a bit for the better. And we will change the world (all of us) bit by bit. What a consoling thought?!

 

     
 
 
 
 
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