Overall, I think we humans tend to be a sensitive and fragile lot. And if you ever doubt that, just browse Facebook for a little while and you will see a whole lot of hurt feelings and anger. And online, anger almost always begets more anger. Never a solution, and certainly not a way to make friends and influence people.
All that said, if I ever hurt your feelings, too freaking bad! Yes, I don’t care if I hurt your feelings. And the reason I don’t care is because of a lesson that Bhante Sujatha taught me many years ago. And that is, that you can never hurt anyone else’s feelings, you can only hurt yourself.
I remember vividly when he told me this. And there were two other monks standing there who voiced their agreement with him. I felt attacked and outnumbered by these little Sri Lankans!
But as I let the words settle in, I began to understand what he meant. It’s my own mind that allows someone else’s words to have power. Just think about it. If I say you are stupid, does it make you stupid? Of course not!
Now please understand that I do not mean any of this to say we should be insensitive or cruel. I think we should always do our best to be mindful and kind, both in word and deed. But being kind and compassionate does not mean that we must remain silent when harm is being done. An example would be racism. If I hear someone speak or act like a racist, I will most likely call them out with strong objection. Which does not mean I do not have love for that person. Objection does not have to walk hand in hand with anger or hostility.
Right now in America, I think it is more important than ever to speak out against oppression and corruption. For our sake, our children’s sake, and the future of our planet. Those of us who remain silent are not only compliant, but culpable in whatever happens.
I encourage each of you to use your voice, use your vote, and speak out. Speak out for your Brothers and Sisters who need you, and for every living being that deserves our love and compassion.
And if I hurt your feelings… well, too bad!