Saturday, March 17, 2012


I have this new coworker. He's a misery.

He doesn't know he's a misery, though. He's one of those very old-school types who thinks that mild insults are a way of showing affection - and that showing this kind of affection is appropriate in an office setting. He reminds me of a newspaperman from the 30s in shirtsleeves, with a cigar burning on the desk and a glass of whisky within reach.

He swears far more than is necessary, talks angrily to his computer, sings, whistles, coughs, comments on everything even if it is just to repeat what someone else said, and just generally seems to need a great deal of attention.

Mirounga leonina

It's very hard to not be annoyed by this guy, and certainly even harder to try to muster up some compassion for him.

At first I thought, perhaps it's just me; I didn't like my other coworker very much when he started and I've come to be able to see that he means well, even though he tries too hard. When this coworker started talking about the new coworker to me, though, I was able to let go of thinking it was just me, and that I had to resist this overly negative person, and try to gain some perspective and some compassion for this person who I find myself offended by daily.

My affable coworker referred to the other guy's mannerisms as armor that he carries around with him. And it is; it's armor that keeps people from liking him, armor that keeps people at a distance. Armor that he probably doesn't even know he's carrying.

Cyndi Lee reminds us that the warrior's weapons are "precision, gentleness, opening, and natural intelligence." One look at any of the warrior poses (Virabhadrasana) shows this to be true.


There's nothing in that stance about fighting, closing off, sending others away. The warrior is open to the challenges. She welcomes others in, "seeing with precision what is happening here and now in any given situation, and then having the courage to open [her] beating heart to that" (Yoga Body, Buddha Mind; 89).

Anytime someone comes into our life they are either a blessing or a lesson. Encountering this person, trying to find some compassion and a way to keep his habits from negatively affecting me, is certainly a lesson. It's reminder to think about my own armor, the ways that I keep people from getting to know me, from knowing when they've made it into my heart.  A reminder to look at myself and ask, what is it I do that keeps people away? Which habits should I shed, to make being around me a more pleasant and beneficial experience for others?

1 comment:

  1. Very thoughtful post.... though I keep getting distracted by the seal.


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