If you yell at me, saying, “You are a donkey,” will I become one?
Similarly, if you scream in front of a thousand people, “You are ‘dumb’, an ‘idiot’,” will that make me one?
Most of the times, it does.
Yes, some one angrily calls me a ‘donkey’… and, I take it to my heart. I become angry too… I become mad, sad and then conspire to get back at my tormentor… get even. My mind and heart both are consumed by this ‘donkey consciousness’… Before long, I become the donkey I did not want to be!
In the same way, I become a ‘dumb’… an ‘idiot’!
Well, if you call me a ‘donkey’, a ‘dumb’ or an ‘idiot’, my heart is expected to sulk. Don’t expect those degrading words to pass off my heart the way milk passes off the Mahabali’s idol on a Maha-abhishekam!
It hurts... I sulk, I react. For, I am as sensitive as you are… I am not a dumb statue!
Oh yes, I just said, “as you are”!
This means, we both accept the fact that we both are sensitive… When harsh words are used against us, we get hurt, sad, angry… and we sulk or react.
Having said this, may this be said, too.
I do have within me what it takes not to become that ‘donkey’ or ‘dumb’ or ‘idiot’!
True, I can decide whether to allow the milk to seep into my system or just let it pass off…
Last morning, someone spoke to me very bluntly… The words were not derogatory though, they absolutely lacked sensitivity. He was brash and aggressive, as an army tank, trampling all over my fragile feelings…
On another day, I would have ended up either sulking or reacting; but, not last morning. I was allowing those blunt, insensitive words to simply pass off my system… Neither my mind nor my heart registered any of them… I was able to see this man with compassion (not with any indifference or arrogance)… I just did not want his words to affect me, at all. It was a conscious call I had taken right at the outset of his onslaught… and, once I had taken it, it was taken: come what may, the avalanche of this man’s sharp or blunt words would not take the better off me!
So, last morning, I did not become
a ‘donkey’ or a ‘dumb’ or an ‘idiot’…
the other fellow was tearing his throat
to tell me I was one.
I was not…
I am not…
But, a beautiful thing was happening within me… I was able to see clearly as to how often I did such things to others: my helpless students, my floundering staff, my spouse or the kid who might do things the way I did not like…
I am not sure what saved me, last morning: whether the wisdom that I too behaved in such a blunt or insensitive manner with others… Or, the present reality that this person had behaved with me so!
Whatever it is: being blunt, brash and insensitive is not good. When others call me a ‘donkey’ or an ‘idiot’, I may exercise my option not to be one… But, most certainly, when I call someone so, I have no option left in me… except: to become one!
Pics.: Vivek D'Cunha