You ever notice how tell-tale admissions linger in denials? No one ever bothers to deny things that do not matter to them, have no effect on them, or are not somehow identified within themselves (i.e., secretly acknowledged or feared, in particular). That thing you react to every time? That accusation that you simply must respond to? That perceived inference, that implied slight? Most times, they exist in no one’s head but your own…. and if/when they live elsewhere, it is precisely due to your own actions (usually thoughtless ones).
A recent example that I find by turns to be amusing, sad, and telling is the one in which someone refers to themselves as “too old to be a drama queen”; the immediate reactions of ego are as revealing as they are the same three adjectives used to describe “that person”:
(1) “And yet…”
(2) “But being one anyway…”
(3) “But being unable to figure out how to not be…”
Of course, this is just an demonstration of my own ego at work, and I admit it; as uncomfortable and unfortunate as it is, it is also (obviously) part of the constant effort of practice; chief among which is not denying that it’s here. As if I could. (wry grin)
All of this arises from a pretty silly misunderstanding that got some touchy egos (mine included) in an uproar well over a year ago.
Interestingly, I thought I’d let it go, but obviously not. I laugh at myself; mostly because “the others” involved aren’t a great loss to my life, but also because they are (if you grok Buddhism at all, this will make sense and, if not, my apologies).
Tracing the spasms, I find it fascinating that, although “that person” holds no space of meaning in my life, the idea that they could possibly get that bent out of shape or undertake the actions they chose, really, really does. Then, of course, there is all the denial, which brings melancholy amusement of that “sad because I know there are spaces in my life where I do the same” sort; just as they deny, I too, deny…… that it hurts, that it matters, that it is yet another example of how karma must be acknowledged and faced when it presents in life… and how I failed in it.
I could say that the thing that bothers me is that this person actually felt it was appropriate, correct, and proper to use her bruised ego and anger to trash a job opportunity I had.
I could say that I am appalled that, apparently, she felt it completely acceptable to go to the human resources department of a company to which I had applied (at which she works) and “warn them” against hiring me.
I could say that the level of motivated intent and acrimony is frightening….
….or that the level of inner ugly required to do such a thing is self-evident…
…or even that someone capable of such a thing is someone I am thankful and quite relieved NEVER to make the mistake of calling “friend”.
And while I write all of these as examples, I embrace or feel none of them. I admit that somewhere, in the back of my head, my ego IS howling outrage… but I am not at the mercy of my ego (any more than anyone reading this, whether it is realized or not) and thus, rather than anger for “what she did”, I am instead profoundly sad.
Understand, I never knew of this in the time it happened and I have solid work; so, as far as I am concerned, it has had no affect on my life. But I sit here and think about what life must be like, what has to be actively present in the mind, that such a thing is not only deemed appropriate, but correct and proper. It is a sad thought; that anyone could be so unhappy in themselves and their life that this kind of action would “make sense” or “seem like the thing to do”.
I also think of how awful it is that I couldn’t see or know in advance well enough to be whatever it was this person needed so that this additional layer of karma could be averted and neutralized.
As I told her yesterday, upon discovering all of this via a link from someone who “thought I should know”:
“It never occurred to me to demonize you, speak poorly of you to our mutual friends, or to render more attention or effort to it; the way I figured it, we were what we needed to be for one another in the time we knew one another and that time had passed.”
The response, as expected, was justification (albeit demonstrated via shame; the outlet of revelation made private… a tacit admission amidst the continuing disassociation and denial).
I thought I did not need to say a thing. In fact, I believe I wrote only yesterday, “nothing more.” I cannot say that was a lie; at the time I wrote it, I really thought it true. But the only thing I can think of to say in this moment, after admitting to and setting forth all the above, actually, quite in spite of it (self-cherishing mess that I, as any human, am), is this:
I forgive you the things my ego insists “you did to me” and I forgive myself for being unable to be better or kinder so you could be without need to create karma between us.
I had no intent of injury, but that does not change that you feel injured.
Were it possible, I would undo everything but, being that it is not, I will instead sincerely desire that any and all negative outcomes of karma manifest upon me and into my life rather than yours; recognizing that the only way to forestall negative outcomes for you is to be fully willing to have them in your stead.
I accept that no one can or will understand my intent and motivation but myself.
I accept that it may well be many will only find in this more over which to take affront or umbrage.
I accept that it is entirely possible this action will create its own karma, but am content that, should it do so, it will fall only upon me; unskillful actions only negatively affect their originators, while all acts of rightful intent, rightful motivation, and rightful thought will, eventually, neutralize negative outcomes of karma for all involved… THIS, my only goal, is the reason for this post.
oṃ benza satva hūṃ
May all beings within the world have and know only happiness; may they never know unhappiness, and may they never feel they “must” have or “must” avoid anything or anyone.
oṃ benza satva hūṃ