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There Are Beings Everywhere

“There are beings everywhere. That is the problem” Ponlop Rinpoche said when I saw him speak a few months ago.

We mistakenly think that our experience and our comfort in each moment are more important than that of others. At times I notice that I am so tucked into my own subjective experience that I don’t care about anyone around me.

I am grateful that I have relied on public transportation. It is always an opportunity to practice leaping out of your own selfish cocoon. For instance, getting on a 6:27 a.m. bus, sleepily, it is my third bus of the morning and I am still not really awake. People are crowding to get the seats they want. In Seattle, if you are in a ‘bad’ seat on the bus, you will spend the ride being thrown off the seats either because of the bus drivers’ sudden stops or while curving up and down the many hills. I often notice that I am looking at the people in front of me with no regard for their humanity.  I am thinking I have to get to my seat. I deserve this seat, because I am short and I am going to work, already on my third bus and I deserve to be comfortable. Ha ha ha ha! is usually my next thought. Why do I deserve comfort anymore than anyone else here? What will I lose if I have to be uncomfortable during this ride? Nothing. I will lose nothing.

“There are beings everywhere. That is the problem”. When I woke up this morning, I had to share the kitchen with my three roommates. I did not want to see anyone This is my quiet morning. I want to be alone. But, the water needed to boil and I hugged one of them, and we laughed at how lucky we were. Some people hate their roommates.

“There are beings everywhere. That is the problem.” I got on the bus a few weeks ago and spotted a client. I was cranky.  We were both going to the same place, two identical bus rides lay in our future. I waved and walked to the back of the bus. A moment later he was at my side. This is my commute to work and I have the right to not be with clients right now. After all, I feel cranky. We talked for a while, sharing some mutual appreciation for Seattle’s many wonders. I noticed how I lightened as we talked, and I remembered how lonely he was. How lonely I am. In this instance, I did get off the bus early, excusing myself to buy some lunch because there are times when boundaries are helpful. Knowing I would spend eight hours with clients that evening, I made the choice to spend the next hour alone. But my cranky had dissolved.

“Buddha would have like boundaries,” Pema Chodron said in a talk.

“There are beings everywhere. That is the problem”. There are countless instances every week when I allow other beings to draw me out of myself and countless others when I must pull myself away from other beings so that I can practice. Not only beings, but sights and sounds and smells whether pleasant of annoying can pull us from our dream where only we exist. We are neither victims or perpetrators in our experiences with other beings.  We can choose to move with grace and ease without reacting to every single tiny perceived need. We can choose not to constantly run on the wheel, trying to perfect each moment, to bend reality so that it works for us. This the meaning of accepting disappointment.

There are beings everywhere. Try loving them -- or at least release them from your fantasy.

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