Recently I went to the Bank, and a long, immovable line extended out the door. Waiting interminably in this line was not in alignment with my deluded expectations. After five minutes and zero movement, I silently questioned how many tellers were servicing the customers. Thus, I impatiently strode past the line to look at the whole bank picture. Lo and behold, much to my dismay, one teller was in the lonely position to support all customers and their needs. I took an extra step forward to see if a banker might be sitting at a desk taking care of other matters. Yes indeed, one more banker was at the back-corner desk.
I approached the banker and asked him why only one teller was available. As my former counselor periodically reminded me in couples counseling, “Tone and intensity, David, tone and intensity” as I would attempt to aggressively prove the inviolable rightness of my thought and action, which I blindly expected my beloved partner, Janna, to respect. Oh boy! It was painfully obvious, much to my dismay, I had work to do on my limited perspective, and our counseling and personal growth work has been a lifelong endeavor.
Meanwhile, back at the bank, the individual I had “accosted” reacted to my aggressive tone and intensity, and he unabashedly told me he was the manager, assisting another customer. Hmmm! I decided to wait a tad longer. When I finally arrived at the bank counter, my teller was suddenly the very same manager! I asked him why only two people serving a compounding line of customers. He bristled, “We are short-staffed today, due to a sick employee.” Said answer did not quell my self-righteous indignation. However, as he dutifully went to work for my banking needs, I realized it was time to be self-aware, breathe, and open my heart to communication and empathy rather than stoke the fire of mutual resistance.
It was time to make amends and cease reacting unconsciously and unproductively. Why? This bank manager is a fellow human being, who is not to blame, and my harsh impatience was not serving our mutual well-being. I was unconsciously treating this man small, as well as myself, through holding onto impatience and blame. He deserved respect, as a worthy individual, aspiring to be and do his best to meet the demands of the day.
In that moment, I gently asked him his name, which was Charles, and I shared my name as David. Without hesitation, “Charles, I apologize. You are not at fault, as I intimated, and you do not deserve the ill effects of the impatience I chose to express. Thank you for taking care of me.” The pall of turbulent energy between us immediately dissipated, as he acknowledged my apology. We both parted company amiably.
The next time I saw Charles was about a week later at the same teller window, and we both said hello with ease and a smile. As he was working on my transaction, I started to chuckle and said, “Charles, isn’t it interesting how guys will experience a mindless conflict, and come to blows verbally or physically? Then most often they are conflict-complete and ready to move forward. He laughed in agreement, and we both appreciated the warmth and mutual acceptance of each other in that precious moment. We parted, all is well, and I look forward to welcoming his service once again.
The opportunity and privilege of Genshai is always available, and it takes just one of us to initiate the privilege of reconnection. As each of us unfolds, may our awareness and practice of this ancient Hindu principle be integral to our growth. Once I paid attention to my self-awareness, and realized I was treating this other person small and undeserving of respect myself, it was time to step up to the plate of right action, acknowledge the mistake, apologize, and honor the other person. In that moment we were both elevated and liberated. Every day may we remember to practice, “Treat no one in a manner that would make them feel small, including yourself.” Be the Difference, as each of us is indelibly integral to the awakening of our fellow human beings unfolding.