Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

I hurt my husband’s feelings tonight. In return, he hurt mine. None of this was intentional. It was, in fact, an object lesson in avidyā, the misunderstanding of reality, or even the self.

It doesn’t matter what actually happened. Suffice to say I wasn’t precise about what was happening, and my husband — who doesn’t hear well — misunderstood my already flawed communication. Things kind of went to hell after that.

N.B. (or ‘pay attention,’ as nota bene means): we  know each other well. We were having a nice evening. And yet this kind of ugly miscommunication can still arise. Can still derail.

If this happens to the well-intentioned, to two people w/ only each other’s best interests at heart, then what hopes do we have of actually reaching strangers? Or even friends??

Buddhism is wise to illusion, delusion, confusion. Of all ethical systems, Buddhism feels most aware (to me, at least) of how fallible is human interaction. With the best of hearts, we break those of others. With the softest voices, we wreak havoc. Even when we are careful to our strongest capability, we mess up. It’s who we are, as human beings. It’s a kind of human destiny, I suppose.

But it hurts. The doer and the done-to. The perpetrator and the victim, both (often) innocent of wrongful mind. It is as ugly to hurt someone as it is to be hurt, sometimes even worse…

I have no answers to this age-old question ~ how can we reach other? All I know is how to say I’m sorry, and how to try, next time ~ and there is sure to be a next time ~ to be more careful. More precise. With even more lovingkindness…

 

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