Posted on Jun 7, 2011 | 0 comments

We have all had the experience of dealing with a person that either has a difficult personality or who just does not agree with our point of view.  This situation is usually frustrating and most defiantly stressful, so you may be wondering what exactly you can learn from these people.

First and foremost we must always remember the true meaning of Namaste; The Divine in Me Recognizes and Salutes the Divine in You.  This means EVERY person, no matter if we agree with them or not.  We must always remember that Divinity resides in them just as it resides in us and therefore they deserve respect just as we do. Just because they see the world in a different way does not mean that they are “bad” or even wrong.  I am not suggesting that you agree with them, but you must strive to understand their point of view especially when you do not agree.  This will actually strengthen your understanding of your own viewpoint and help to clarify your position.  It is only by encountering people that you do not agree with or don’t especially like that you learn the true depth of your beliefs.

Secondly it is only by dealing with people who bring difficulty in our lives that we learn how to truly treat all other human beings with compassion and an open heart.  Compassion may be our natural state, but life tends to knock that out of us pretty fast.  It is hard to live in this world and not allow yourself to become jaded.  It is easy to be compassionate and practice loving kindness if you live in an ashram, but to be out in the world and deal with people who are not yet aware that there is a different way…that is a true test.  This is where I like to say the “rubber meets the road”.  This is where we are tested – in the real world.  Can you have compassion of that person who just cut you off in rush hour traffic?  Can you have compassion for the cashier that didn’t even acknowledge you were human?  Can you smile at the coworker who seems to thrive on negativity and better yet…not join in?

One-Legged King Pigeon Pose or  Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

One-Legged King Pigeon Pose or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Lastly these people give us a chance to practice detachment.  It is only by detaching from the situation and adopting the “witness” viewpoint that we can discern what is true and right.  What I mean by the “witness” viewpoint is that ability to detach just as when we meditate and focus on the breath and let everything else fall away.  Again it is easy to detach when the room is quite and you are seated comfortably in a meditative state.  But what about when your boss is yelling at you?  What about when your team leader has called yet another four hour meeting?  Can you detach then?  It is only by practicing in the quite room that you can call on those same tools to deal with situations in the here and now.  And if you never encounter the real deal how do you know if you ever really learned anything?

It is for all of these reasons and more that we should all be thankful for those people we encounter who just rub us the wrong way.  Just as difficult poses help to build our muscles and our asana practice, difficult people help to build our Karmic muscle.  Think of it as resistance training for your soul.  At first it can be painful and difficult, but with practice you will get better at it and the results will astound you.  These people have brought you a gift – it is the grain of sand that the pearl of wisdom and compassion will grow from.

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