Dharma Glimpse by Paramita
I recently had to leave a job, as a combination of problems with it were making me ill, and so I did it quite suddenly and without securing anything else to fall back on.
I couldn’t afford to have too much time off and so, I started making job applications and went on the old familiar rounds of paperwork, interviews and waiting around to hear back.
I had applied for a carer job and it seemed to be going well but the process was complicated by the fact that it was happening so close to Christmas, and there was some uncertainty about my availability for the fixed rota patterns.
Not long after the first interview and in a state of ambiguity and anxiety around the outcome, I found myself overwhelmed in a social situation, when I was bombarded with career advice by my colleagues and friends about how to proceed with it. All well meaning input but communicated in, what felt like, quite an overpowering way, which didn’t seem to leave much room for my feelings about things. I sputtered out something defensive, angrily dismissed the advice and managed to steer the coversation away from the subject.
I immediately felt frustrated, as I struggle with expressing myself verbally and couldn’t manage to say what I wanted to say at the time. It all left me feeling a bit hurt and vulnerable. After sleeping on it I decided to clarify myself with a message to the community about my feelings and the reasons why I had been quite stubborn about my position. I made it clear that I understood the sentiment behind their intervention but that I had my reasons for maintaining my approach and apologised if my reaction had seemed harsh.
The message was met with understanding and grace from my friends. They appreciated the honesty and that I had taken the care and thought that went into the message.
A few days later a friend who was present at the social event, mentioned the incident and that they’d seen me being pressured and were so impressed and inspired by my message response, that they took a similar approach to an ongoing issue that they were struggling with at the time. My example helped them to muster up the courage to open up and say what was really on their mind, even after the initial event had passed, which made them feel lighter and more at ease.
I thought about what had happened. How my initial reaction was restricted and unclear because of my social frozenness, and how reflection on my part in the situation had produced a more balanced response. It struck me that the active ingredients in this transmission were vulnerability and humility. My honesty and willingness to expose my feelings like that showed a kind of softness that was interpreted, on some level, as a permission to be vulnerable, on the part of my friend.
It really showed me the power of openness and how authenticity can spread in a good way, even when we’re attempting to clear up the mess after the fact.
I felt this as a kind of sharing between friends, colleagues and practitioners.
The softness that happens when we practice Buddhism is a kind of transmission between us and the Buddha. We catch a bit of love and compassion and then, in turn, pass that on to others around us, who hopefully will do the same as they walk their respective paths.
We can’t always be in control of our behaviours – we are, after all, inescapably Human. But we will transmit what is in our hearts and minds, and if we stay close to Amida, it might just be enough to cut through the misunderstandings that happen between us, and help to bring us closer together.
Namo Amida Bu.
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