By Daniel Dimitrov©
Allow me to share a valuable lesson I learned
recently. I went to the showers one evening and hung my shorts,
towel, and undershorts on the hook outside the shower stall. Upon
exiting the shower, I found much to my surprise and chagrin that
the shorts were missing. My favorite and very best pair of nylon
shorts! My initial surprise soon gave way to disbelief, "I
can't believe someone had the nads to steal them right from under
my nose!!" Then I really began to examine deeply this problem
and how I was reacting to it. There was a still-small voice in the
back of my mind saying, "You should be outraged, plain pissed-off.
They've got a lot of f%*%!! nerve!"
But, you know what, Ven. Chodron? This little
voice was so wimpy and lacked conviction that I had to laugh at
myself and the situation. I asked myself, "Whose shorts were
they really? Who assembled these shorts and transported them here?
Who gave me the money to purchase them? (my parents) And besides,
just who is this "I," "me," or "mine"
that possessed these shorts in the first place? This "I"
is empty of inherent existence as are the shorts. How silly!
I'm happy to say that I did not become angry,
or if I did, a little, I didn't attach to that anger, which was
more like a feeling of frustration than outrage. In fact, I even
said a prayer of compassion for the person who stole them, knowing
that that person is going to reap the karmic consequences of his
act. Besides, this person is suffering from greed, which is probably
what compelled him to take the shorts in the first place.
There is one thing worth mentioning in regard
to this lesson. It really struck me how, in the materialistic culture
we live in, we are conditioned and programmed to respond in specific
ways to certain situations or problems. When someone steals something
from us, we are supposed to be outraged, angry, and even seek revenge
and restitution. How crazy is that? I believe you said in your tape
that we should recondition ourselves and the way we view things.
Well, this was one of those times. I'm heartened to say that it
really wasn't that difficult to do. I'm glad that I did not react
impulsively with anger and violence as I probably would have in
the past. In the sub-culture of a prison environment, it's almost
required to lash out under such circumstances. Some inmates get
beaten or stabbed for far less. It's really a bunch of macho bullshit
and I won't allow myself to be dragged into it.
Later: Shortly after
my shorts were stolen, a Muslim friend of mine heard of my plight
and gave me a nice pair of nylon shorts. At first I declined, but
he insisted, so I accepted and was grateful.