My roommate came out of her room this morning carrying something in her hand. She headed out the patio door. As she put her arm over the rail, I asked her what she was doing.
“I found a bug in my room. Just a small, flying insect. Must have come in through the window screen.”
“Wow,” I responded. “You’re nice. I would have smashed it.” I demonstrated by hitting the nearest wall with my palm.
“It’s the Buddhist in me,” she smiled back.
As she went back to her room, I wondered if she would have had the same set of actions if that bug had been a scorpion, or a big black spider; both of which I have encountered in the apartment since I have lived here.
I know her. If she could have come up with a way to humanely removed those from her living area, she would have.
She is a better person than I am.
This interchange then got me to thinking about the similarities of this scenario to how I perceive differences in appearance in terms of being a threat to my being, and how I act (or react) to people under those same circumstances.
Again, it would take a lot of courage to apply that same approach to a spider or a scorpion. Something bigger, uglier, with more ability to injure me. It’s so much easier to accept something when it is pretty, colorful, shiny, funny; not so easy when it is ugly, mono-chrome, hairy, curt, serious.
Now take that thought and apply it to people, or things, or situations.
Not only does it take courage to see through the façade of initial appearances, but it takes endurance to overcome the fight/flight syndrome that is the partner in crime to that attitude of judgement.
There is no excuse for not being aware and having good judgement at all times. That is not what I am advocating. Constant awareness is a key survival mechanism.
What I am advocating is mixing in the elements of courage, endurance, faith, hope, trust.
In terms of a big picture, I hope that in my daily encounters, whether with people or things or circumstances, that I can accept the challenge to apply my roommate’s holistic approach:
Know (or perceive) what a thing is, but, with hope and courage, move past any fear and get to a place where I can act with humility, compassion, and love towards it.
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