A phrase I read today: "I felt helpless, to empathize so completely with her process and know that her path was her own is to know that no amount of advice or empathetic listening could help her know her worth; it really does have to come from within."
These few years have not been a bed of roses for me. In fact, it was beset with obstacles in some ways. While I believe the worst has passed, this period has taught me so many precious lessons.
It started with meeting a businessman who did not know how to do business, cunning no less. He also sort of cheated one of my loved ones. Empty promises meant nothing to me more than trust. It was a time when I also found out who my real friends were, and who were not. I have no time to get-together or update my buddies. At the same time, while I made many friends online in social media, I have no time to meet and to really get to know a handful of these wonderful people, save for a couple of blogger friends. I keep telling myself I will do it soon when I am in a better situation. I guess I am the only blogger who is reluctant to be known and be seen.
The more problems I encounter, instead of sinking deeper into self pity and being despondent, I found myself dwelling even deeper and fervently thirsty for the Dharma. I know the only way to solve any problem is to help myself first. I learned many practices and methods and also participated in retreats to rid some of the problems and obstacles. I also received so much blessings from my gurus. And I have just started a 5-year commitment to study the Middle Length Lam Rim (Stages In The Complete Path To Enlightenment) with exams too! At least I am enjoying this so far. In my previous job when I got bored, I went to take my MBA. To me, the certificate when I complete this course is going to be so much more precious to me compared to my Masters degree.
These few years, along the way, I made acquaintance with many people. I only discovered recently that I have a knack of attracting problematic people (before that, my life was so smooth sailing with plenty of benefactors). I mean, I know everyone has their own problems, but I realize some of the really problematic ones I meet tend to be on the unusual side. I always end up having to be the one providing the listening ear, suffering the brunt of their unhappiness, indirectly directed at me. There was this acquaintance who was troubled, asking me many weird questions, and whom I counselled for 3 hours straight but thereafter kept sms-ing me asking me to go out or to go church for 5-6 months! A couple of weeks ago, I had to listen to another friend who loves to gossip and also chide you at the same time. Even my mom does not speak to me in this rude manner. Just last week, there was another new friend whom I tried to help and counsel because she was suicidal, depressed and hypersensitive. I end up having to listen to her sob story every night, even though I think there is really nothing seriously wrong with her. She just needed some attention. Then last night past midnight, somebody sent me taunting childish messages in Facebook, someone whom I am not even close to, for heaven's sake. That was the last straw. This was the first time anyone behaved this way to me. Everyone just want to pour out their grievances and discontent to someone. I termed it "verbal diarrhea". They want you to listen to them but not the other way round. I shall not elaborate details of each case because you had be shocked. Everyone has a different mental continuum and karmic disposition.
At 3am, I was fuming mad at first. Why should be I bothered with a person who means nothing to me? I should just focus on the ones who love me dearly, ie. parents. Then I suddenly realized, all the recent people I met who gave me problems, they were just my obstacles ripening fast and furious right now. In my prayers just 2 nights ago, I had requested the Three Jewels' and protectors' blessings to please help me in removing the karmic debt (and unnecessary people) from my life the soonest possible. It seemed that my prayers were answered immediately. I realized our mouth, the words spoken (speech) and how we behave towards others (action), are the poisons that harm others as well as our own mind. I had to remind myself that remaining angry would just create new karmic connection with the said enemy (whom I definitely wish to cut the connection with!). I treat this episode as a precious lesson, to work towards quickest enlightenment within this lifetime so that I can then (as a Buddha) help other sentient beings. How to help others now when I am myself still struggling, suffering in samsara? I will still listen to and help people (selectively). Before I fell asleep last night, I was just elated with this realization that my obstacles had ripened and cleared, perhaps due to my recent Nyungne retreat (purification), attending Lam Rim 'Bring Ba classes (wisdom), as well as having received precious Choden Rinpoche's blessings a day ago.
I woke up this morning quite happy and light. Good riddance of the bad. Inner peace.