Dharma Glimpse by Karmadeva (Andrew Nicholls)
Compassion is at the heart of Buddhist philosophy, often referred to as Metta. The word is from Pali and means positive energy and kindness toward others. This should always be part of the practice of anyone wanting to live the Buddhist life.
My work is with a charity in Birmingham, we offer support to people with mental health problems and give them the tools they need to recover and get on with their lives. My role is participation, I love my work and find it rewarding. To work with people from all walks of life, different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. I’m not being egotistical when I say that I feel I’m good at my job, but believe I do make a difference to many people. Recently I’ve been getting various ideas from one of the people I work with. A man who receives services and has become more involved. He can be quite negative about our working practices and to a certain extent has annoyed me. To be truthful I thought it would be so much easier if he just stopped complaining about things and looked a little more positively at what we do. Then I remembered something one of my Buddhist teachers once told me, a koan, he said when I sat telling him about all the wonderful ideas I had of working with some homeless people. Do they want this then? He told me tge story of a man and his daughter in China, they had been to a nearby well and collected water for the family and we’re carrying it home on their shoulders. The older man fell, tge buckets spilling and him lying on the floor. He looked up T his daughter and stretched out his hand. @help me up” he said to her. With that the daughter threw her water on the ground and fell on the ground next to her father. The question to think about why did she do this? How would she understand the help her father needs without seeing the situation from his perspective.
So after reflection on this I thought of the service user and his complaints. What makes him complain, past experience of not being listened to? A true desire to make a change for his peers? So is it about attacking me or my organisation? Or about his needs. I’ve asked him for a meeting and have reassured him that I want his valuable participation. The meeting will be about how we can support him and how we can make things better from his opinion. May not be able to do all he wants, but I’ve listened and tried to give him guidance. I will do what I can to show love and kindness. In keeping with my practice and using love and kindness to guide me rather than ego and delusions.