A lesson in kindness and compassion
When I was in University I worked at a flower shop.
It was my job to take care of making the floral arrangements when the owner was not available.
One day a lady came into the shop and demanded I make an arrangement with all white flowers and a single red flower in the center.
She was incredibly rude and on several occasions I had to hold my tongue and lean on the patience I had developed from my newly discovered meditation practice.
I simply listened despite the fact that she was pushy and difficult to deal with.
Finally, after a barrage of complaints and do-overs, we found common ground. She was somewhat pleased with the final product and to be honest, I was looking forward to her leaving the shop.
I remained calm as I wrapped the arrangement and prepared for her to take it home with her. As I was ringing her arrangement into the cash register I felt as though I was being guided to ask her about the significance of the red flower. She began to sob.
She put her sunglasses over her eyes and explained that her husband had just passed away and she was having to make all of the funeral arrangement on her own. He was the single red flower in her life.
Tears streamed down her face as she shared that I had been the only person, as she ran errands for the service, who had been kind to her. And to be honest I could see why. I listened patiently.
Thankful that my meditation practice allowed me the mental clarity to hold space for her and just listen. Where my initial emotional response would have been to tell her to go to a different flower shop.
After she paid for the flowers I offered to carry the large arrangement to her car. I placed
the flowers in the back seat. And she gave me a big hug and said thank you.
The lesson here is to see past the pain of others. To recognize that they’re acting out of pain and so that is why they’re inflicting pain.
Underneath all of the emotion + commotion is a beautiful human being, a Buddha, an angel, a scared child who needs to be comforted. I encourage you to be that comfort, to keep up with your meditation and cultivate a spirit of loving kindness.
You never know when your opportunity to teach + elevate will arrive.
Tiaga Prem Singh