March 15

Today's quotation:

Therefore, just like any treasure in my house
Without any effort on my part to obtain it
I should be happy to have a difficult person
For this difficult person assists me in my conduct of awakening.

Shantideva

Today's Meditation:

While I don't like to admit it, difficult people have sometimes been the best teachers in my life.  Through them I've learned to develop patience, tolerance, and the ability to see things from different perspectives.  While it's been a challenge to face them sometimes, I have learned a lot from them--usually in spite of them, though, rather than because of anything they've done.

It's easy to see that most difficult people aren't trying to teach us a thing.  They act in difficult ways because they're allowing their greed, their need for control, or their fear dictate how they treat other people.  They certainly don't have my growth in mind when they treat me poorly or force me into situations I would rather not be in.

But each of these people presents an opportunity for me to grow and to learn, especially about myself.  They give me a chance to practice things that I probably wouldn't be practicing if they weren't around.  I usually don't need to practice patience with a friend or co-worker with whom I get along well, but a difficult person may make me dig down deep in order to find what I need in order not to lose my cool or to let the person control me or my actions.

If love is supposed to be unconditional, then I should be able to show love even to the difficult people.  Where does this love come from when I truly feel no desire at all to love a certain person?  Therein lies the challenge--to find that source of love and make it accessible all the time, for all people.  It's easy to love those who are lovable, but I have to work to find the source of love when I need to love a difficult person.  Without difficult people around, I'd never dig, now would I?

Questions to consider:

Is it easy for you to treat difficult people with dignity and respect?

How can difficult people help us to learn more about ourselves?

Do we tend to learn a lot about ourselves when we're with people with whom we get along well?  How (or why not)?

For further thought:

Every person you fight with has many other people
in his or her life with whom he or she gets along
quite well.  You cannot look at a person who seems
difficult to you without also looking at yourself.

Jeffrey Kottler

  
   

  

 

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