“I haven’t always been mindful, but I’ve always been an asshole...and that’s okay.”
I’ve been practicing mindfulness now for about five years. The more I practice, the easier it gets. “Let it Go,” is a mindful expression for saving oneself from frustration and anger. However, ‘letting it go’ is not that easy. This is usually where the experts tell you to, “keep at it, you mustn’t give up,” because the pay off is huge.
About three years ago, maybe four, I discovered a short cut. All you need is a little imagination and a smattering of empathy for this hack and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you too will be able to, “Let it Go.”
For instance, at present, I’m in India going on five months. No idea when I’ll be able to leave. India is a loud country. There’s a lot of horn honking, loud talkers, loud arguments, morning mooing cows, and slamming doors. The door slamming started a couple days ago when a new tenant moved into the apartment next to me. Every morning he slams his door leaving and every night he slams his door coming. He also slams his door when he leaves and returns from an errand. Usually the liquor store.
This door slamming can go on till very late and as hard as I tried to understand the annoying exits and entries, I was nowhere close to, “Letting it Go.” Until I remembered my short cut. Here’s how it works:
I asked myself, why does he slam his door? I came up with two theories, 1- He’s deaf. Or, 2- This is the first door he’s ever used. 1, was ruled out because I saw him in the parking garage ordering Take Away on his cell phone. Mindfully, I gave the second theory serious thought. This is where an imagination helps.
Living in a tent in Jaipur is not unusual. And tents have doors but they’re made out of canvas and impossible to slam. It’s more of a ‘whiff’ or sometimes a zipper. Both impossible to slam. Suddenly, my empathy kicked in and I thought how wonderful it must be for this man to finally have a real wooden door that opens and closes and yes, even slams. That has to be a wonderful sound after years of whiffing and zipping. And who am I to get upset about it? I feel happy for my neighbor and suddenly, ‘I let it go...’ because I understand and feel like I know my neighbor a whole lot better.
A little empathy and some imagination are all you need to avoid anger, resentment, frustration, and upsetting a neighbor who is 30 pounds lighter and 40 years younger. This compassion enables me to access the peace in my heart and I transform my world by transforming myself. Not completely... which should be obvious, but I’m working at it.
Next Monday, The Mindful Asshole considers Donald Trump and a phone call I had with him about 25 yrs ago.