Dealing with others

Even back in times of Plato and Aristotle, philosophers and mystics believed that we are all one. And that all there is constitutes what many call god. From that point of view, hurting another person is hurting myself, and loving another person is loving myself. This is one of the metaphysical teachings that I like. Is it true? I don’t know. Does it have the potential to help me deal with others effectively? Yes.

The popular word Namaste originates from that belief of the union of all things. So that when I say namaste to you, I mean that I salute the divinity in you. That is, I acknowledge that you’re divine, as divine as I am. Because, “We are all god(s).”

Those who know me realize that dealing with others is one of my issues. I wasn’t respected as a child and, therefore, in the past I didn’t have any qualms disrespecting others when I felt attacked.

But the issue is not so much the disrespect as it is the feeling of being attacked–which is usually untrue.

This past winter I had a very interesting experience dealing with a young man (decades my junior) at school. I sat next to him for about 5 hours a day, and we worked together in groups, a lot. He is painfully shy and off-the-charts smart. For some reason, I developed a fascination for him. I just loved his beautiful mind. He could sit there and finish in two hours what would take me 25 hours and other classmates up to 40.  I had never met a genius quite like him.

But he is rough around the edges. You talk to him and he ignores you, because he is deep in the zone. You offer him something, anything–candy, gum, an apple, a pencial–and 100% of the times he says, “No.”

He never says, “No, thanks.”  Or “maybe some other time.”  He says “No.”  He loves to help, but if he is busy, he brushes you off pretty quickly.

But I forgave everyone of his misdeeds. Because I liked him, and because I understood he was different.  Instead of being hurt or angry, I would tease him to no end  (tickle him, hide his food). At first he was scared like a little puppy. But he grew to like me as much as I liked him. The last two months, we sat there all morning doing homework, teasing each other, and laughing almost non stop. Like I said to him, it was a miracle that we ever got anything done, but we did. Our group projects got the best marks in the class. As a team, we were an A+ team.

I’ve been wondering what would happen if I gave others the benefited of the doubt like I did with my young friend. Perhaps what I need to do is tell myself that one way or another everyone is “divine, ” or worthy.

I’m pretty sure that I won’t always develop an awesome friendship with everyone I meet, but I can respect them and give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps, at least sometimes,  I will find out that there is a beautiful mind behind the grumpy face and the rude responses. And I love beautiful minds.