JOHN WAS TRYING TO live his life with lots
of calm and tranquility. But today his wife, Sharon, was trying
to mount a new phone on the wall and had a very frustrating time
of it. John resented her for putting so much negative emotion
into the atmosphere.
Which means basically he was saying (if
he was bold enough to say it out loud), "I know the circumstances
are upsetting, but please change your way of dealing with your
circumstances so they don't bother you as much."
But what about John? Sharon being upset
is his circumstance. Can he change his way of dealing
with it so it doesn't bother him as much? And if he can't, how
can he ask her to? And if he can, why does he need
to ask her to?
So John thought about it. And he asked
himself, "Given that my intention is to live in serenity,
what would I have to think about Sharon being upset that would
result in me being serene about it?" In other words, if
he was already serene about it, what would he be thinking?
And he came up with an answer. He'd be
thinking something like this: "It was just circumstances.
Those circumstances would have frustrated anyone. She got extra
upset, but she has genuinely frustrating circumstances compounded
by other frustrating circumstances in her life. She's dealing
with it the best she can and actually she's dealing with it successfully
for the most part. So she lost her head a little. Who among us
has not lost his head a bit when thwarted repeatedly by frustrating
There is an old Russian saying that before
you concern yourself with the dirt on someone else's doorstep,
first clean your own. John learned this lesson for himself. And
his calm helped Sharon find her calm.