A Mirror

by Friends of Godwin

In everyday life sometimes we are forced to deal with people whom we consider to be negative, maybe starting with your husband or wife, or more probably the boss. So what do we do when we have to relate to such people? Fortunately or unfortunately, we can’t avoid them, so we can’t escape from them. Then what do we do? I will give some suggestions.

First suggestion is, don’t be surprised. Why? Because they are unenlightened beings just like yourself. So it is very important to realise that we are living in a world which is full of imperfect human beings, including ourselves. Putting it in stronger language, according to the Buddha until we are enlightened we are all crazy. We are crazy in the sense that no-one can claim that they can always see things just as they are. We all see things subjectively, not objectively. In this sense we are all crazy, and so we are living in a crazy world. So when you see imperfections in everyday life, whether arising in yourself or in others, please don’t be surprised.

The second suggestion is that when you see imperfection in others, try to remind yourself: I am also imperfect like that person. Otherwise we have a self-righteous attitude: I am perfect, the other person is imperfect. I am positive, the other person is negative. Is there anyone who is always positive? Are you always positive? So just to realise: Now the other person is negative, so I can also sometimes behave like that. Then you become more and more humble.

The third suggestion is to try to see them as your gurus, as your teachers, as your masters. I would like to mention now that I have been called a master but I would like to see myself as a spiritual friend and not as a master. But when you see negative people, please see them as masters. Why? Because the master is showing you a mirror. So what to do when you are getting angry? Use the mirror and look at your face reflected in the mirror. Whichever way the master is behaving, look at your own emotions. What are the emotions that are coming? I’m giving that person a minus. See I’m getting angry, I’m getting annoyed, I’m getting agitated. See all the emotions that are arising thanks to the master. The function of a good master is to try to test whether you are good meditators. So this master is testing you whether you are a good meditator.

And then one thing that is very difficult but very interesting to do is: can you see the master as if for the first time? Sometimes we come to a conclusion that this person is a negative person. So everytime we see that person we relate to him with that conclusion, with that prejudice, with that bias. Sometimes we see what we want to see. So poor master, even if the poor master is behaving in a positive way we think how negative that person is: see the way that person is looking at me! Because we only see what we want to see.

And the last suggestion is to ask the master what are the negative things you can see in me? That will be very revealing.