Over at Genkaku-again, Adam Genkaku Fisher has a great post on honesty, niceness, and the stories we make up about others we perceive as "savior" figures. What struck me most was the following:
But who is it who says that Jesus or some other guru has to be nice in my terms? Who is it who imagines that kindness only resides in a "yes?"
I appreciate the willingness to go beyond commonplace views and really ask how much of our longing for compassion, and for people to just be nice, is simply what we want to happen. I've noticed how I get upset sometimes when people working behind counters at coffee shops or restaurants feel cold or irritated. What's interesting about this is that even though I do not subscribe to the view that people in customer service should always smile and be nice, there's still a piece of me that sometimes takes personally the cranky remark or flat affect of those same folks. What it comes down to is that I don't want the inconvenience of their pain coming into my life, or on that particular day, my own suffering is already enough, and I see theirs as simply an addition that I better shut down or marginalize before it pushes me over the edge. This is all story driving me. That customer service people should at least try to keep it together. That I can't handle a few minutes of crankiness or less than friendly service. It's all story. And entitlement as well. Who said we deserve to get a smile and friendly service from every minimum wage clerk in the country? Why are we so willing to reduce our fellow humans into simply means of exchange that better behave accordingly?
When you start to see the pervasiveness of this, there is a sting to it. It's not pleasant, and yet, without this awareness, there will never be awakening.