Some days I’m far better at being responsive rather than reactive to stuff that comes up in life. In my opinion, one of the primary benefits of a consistent meditation practice. And I owe pretty much all of my zen moments to my 14+ years of meditation because this wasn’t and isn’t always the case).
Yesterday was one of those days when I think I got it right. Let me set the stage for you. Every morning Monday-Friday at 6 & 7 am, I lead my morning bootcamp class down on the beach near Lifeguard tower 26. On this particular morning I lead the class directly out in front of the boardwalk (but out toward the water).
About half way through the 7 am class, I noticed a gal sitting on the bench attempting to meditate at the end of the boardwalk. I could sense that her energy was agitated and something told me that it was due my voice and our presence. As it turns out, I was correct. In total there were 7 of us out there. 5 of us walked by her when the class was over and she said nothing.
But as I approached my car in the parking lot, one of my bootcampers called my name and came running up. She had been a little slower to leave the beach and when she passed the woman, apparently the gal stopped her and told her that she appreciated what we were doing but said we were “dominating” the view of the ocean in front of the boardwalk and asked us to move at least 20 yards right or left. My camper said she would pass it along to me.
Now let me say, in my opinion and probably 9 our of 10 folks, we most certainly were not “dominating” the view of the ocean. In fact on most days I’m hyper vigilant about accommodating the public surrounding us. My first thought was are you f’ing kidding me! No chance we’re moving.
I wanted to go let this person know she was wrong and here’s why. There are miles of beach and ocean out there to appreciate. It was a gorgeous morning and so much to appreciate. One could have sat in her same seat and been in a state of bliss...grateful for life, being near the ocean, the sunshine, seeing a group of 6 woman empowered and working out at the beach, seeing the seagulls flying to and fro, etc etc.
And yet you have such a myopic perspective and preview that essentially all you could hear and saw was us and how it bothered you. This is a perfect example of how based on state of mind, 2 people can be in the same scenario and one experiences heaven and the other hell. And yet it’s the same external experience, but your “reality”is based on what your mind is focused on. And the ultimate goal of meditation is to be able to do it anywhere, regardless of your external environment...to feel the peace inside. We’ve been here for years. 🙏🙏🙏Blah, blah, blah. That’s what my ego wanted to say.
And about 3-5 years ago I would have said all this, yet this time I decided not to. I chose to pause, take a deep breath and become aware of my thoughts. In that moment I recognized my ego was running the show and wanted to “bark back”, put her in her place and let her know why and how she was wrong in my opinion.
But that’s what most of us do on a daily basis and I certainly have been guilty of it. However, if I do that, she’ll probably “bark back” at me and we’ll both feel highly charged with negative energy. No one wins in that instance. These days I prefer to be happy rather than right. It’s a basic premise that you don’t fight “fire” with fire, you do it with water. So I decided to drive off and process it more.
I wanted to put myself in her shoes, could there be truth to what she said? I decided the answer was yes. How hard would it be to simply move 20 yards to the side. Not at all. So I decided we would move and today we did. Additionally I have no idea what caused her to be so “disturbed” that morning. Maybe she’s a person who’s living with victim consciousness; always looking for something to be angry about. Or maybe she just found out she had cancer or lost her job, or just broke up with a lover or simply woke up on the wrong side of the bed etc.Point being, I have no idea.
But what I DID SEE was a person who seemingly came to the beach that morning to meditate perhaps in hopes of finding inner peace. That’s a very good thing and the world needs more people doing that. I can and will always support that activity. While it doesn’t seem she found it this morning, at least she was trying. And I want to honor that. So I decided to pray for her to find peace within.
Because I do know I wouldn’t want to be in that head space that caused her to be so flustered, over something so minor in the grand scheme of things. Because I’ve been there and it’s no fun. And I realized it gave me an opportunity to BE GRATEFUL for the fact that presently I’m feeling an abundance of peace of mind and joy on the daily. And finally I had the realization that it wasn’t about me “fixing” her and trying to change her behavior and/or thoughts, rather this situation gave me a chance to work on me, so I did.
And I would submit, that that’s pretty much what all of our life experiences are about. They give us a chance to become a little more mindful, to grow and consciously evolve. And so I say thank you to that woman for being my teacher :) May all beings be peaceful. May all beings be happy. May all beings be free. Thanks for listening - Adam
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