I want to believe in people

“When we infuse one routine activity with mindfulness, then another, we are waking up to the mystery of each moment, unknowable until it arrives. As things come forward, we are ready to receive and respond.” (p. 30)

Instead of being fearful of what stressful event might befall me next, I can think of these moments as opportunities to choose how I wish to respond: with anxiety and frustration or with mindful presence and patience.

Part of what I find myself struggling with in particular these past few years is an ever-increasing sensitivity to behaviors from others that seem especially nasty and even premeditated. I feel hurt and heartbroken by the things people do and can somehow justify as their entitlement. It may something simple and surgical or run deeper. Either way, in my practice to become more self-aware, I have broken down my defenses and find myself even more vulnerable than I was before.

Not that anyone enjoys being hurt by others unless they have are gluttons for punishment. I am just discovering that as I delve deeper into my own inner scale, I am finding mean behaviors more and more disturbing and sad.

So, how can I protect myself without becoming hardened to the world around me? I do not wish to respond in kind when people project their unhappiness or entitlement onto me, though this is often my first inclination.

I want to scream at them:

How can you sleep at night? Are you for real? What is wrong with you?

I want to ring their necks until I can shake some sense into them. But then I realize that each person is simply vying for their own survival, and I imagine it is easy to talk oneself into believing they are justified in doing harm to another in the pursuit of their own self-interest.

Over the past few years, I have been attempting a kind of energy Tai Chi practice. I do not wish to respond in kind to negative behavior, nor do I wish to take it on, so I try to let it drop between me and the other person.

To protect myself most recently, I have been reading, writing, swimming, walking, and reflecting on Buddhism, mindfulness, yoga practice, and awareness. I have also been practicing patience with the universe, for I have found that the universe provides opportunities for healing in packages that I do not always recognize at first glance. It is a slow process, but I have the feeling that it will be most beneficial in the longterm.

“Mindfulness helps stabilize the heart and mind so they are not so badly tossed around by the unexpected things that arrive in our life” (Jan Chozen Bays, 2014, p. 21).

As Will Duncan shared at this talk on 3 years of silent meditation, “I would rather be gullible and see the best in people than the alternative.”

I have been known to look at the ceiling when told the word “gullible” has been written there, and I choose to continue to hope.

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