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    Dharma Glimpse by Sonia

    At night, I’m plagued by emails. Ones I’ve received, ones I need to send, ones I need to reply too. The words fly around in a mounting frenzy and I just want to let go and go to sleep. I’m finding it increasingly hard to switch off these days and I’m especially annoyed because I regard this as one of the things I am ‘good’ at. So throw in some feelings of failure there too.

    Why do emails do this? I notice it happens when some part has been activated. It’s always the same thing – ‘not good enough’ feelings triggered by being condescended too. One email is really bothering me. Finding the right words to reply takes… more than anything… a pause. Their intentions, my intentions – a lot of this is flying under the surface, not visible to us. I notice in myself and in others a feeling of self-righteousness, the intention is to ‘correct’ the other person and woe if you get into that spiral. And woe if you are both insistent on having the last word. I’ve worked in lots of roles where diffusing conflict has been an important skill, where all parties leave feeling heard and perhaps with more understanding. I notice now that what made that easier was being in a position of recognised authority. It’s a bit different when you either don’t have power, or you’re taking power out of the equation entirely.

    It gets to the end of the day and the ‘pause’ hasn’t been long enough, I don’t reply to the email.

    At night the words keep coming back to me, little stings, I get angry, I remember to say the nembutsu and ask for clear-seeing. The words fly back, amplified, I get upset, I remember to say the nembutsu. The spiral again, I say the nembutsu.

    In the morning I’m grateful to wake with the knowledge I have managed to get some restful sleep.

    Later I log on, and the email doesn’t seem so bad now. I think about the person receiving my response, their complicated reactions, the daily irritations of life they are juggling, the space in which they are receiving my words. I try to understand the ripple effect, this is not just an email, but a person’s heart I am speaking to, however mundane the subject might be. I picture the Buddha’s smile, type words and hit send.

    Namo Amida Bu.

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