February 16, 2015
And then there's good old Mortimer, that person who is sitting next to you in the meditation hall, or perhaps someone who works in your office.Who's Mortimer?
— Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are
Some people are lusting when they see Mortimer. He looks wonderful to them... A certain number of people hate him. They haven't even talked to him yet, but the minute they saw him, they felt loathing. Some of us haven't noticed him, and may never notice him. In fact, a few years from now he'll tell us he was here, and we'll be surprised."
Think about all the people around you. Those who you really love, those who drive you crazy, and those who you know nothing about.
The most interesting part of this passage for me is the people who drive you crazy. I only know a couple of people like that, and after interacting with them, even if only very briefly, I think about that interaction for a while. I’ll be standing in the shower, trying to relax, and I’ll go back to my interaction with that person.
You must know people like that. Right?
I’m working hard to look at this sort of person as a teacher, rather than as an annoyance. Because the presence of someone who can really irritate you, maybe means you have something to learn.
This is also true of people you put on a pedestal, and people you don’t notice. They have something to teach you. (I suppose the remaining category is people you are just fine with.)
"When you feel craving, you could be sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon, but all you can see is this piece of chocolate cake you're craving. With aversion, you're sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon, and all you can hear is the angry words someone said to you ten years ago. With ignorance, you're sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon with a paper bag over your head."