“Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you. They are all your teachers, each doing just the right things to help you learn perfect patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion.” - BuddhaTake 30 seconds to think about all of the people in your life - your family, your friends, and your colleagues. Think about the cashier you briefly spoke with at the store last week and the customer service representative you spoke with on the phone the other day. Think about as many people as you can with whom you have somehow interacted, even the ones...no...especially the ones you think have negatively impacted your life. Now imagine for a moment that they are all here for a reason, and that reason is to make you a better person.
This is what I did when a friend recently introduced me to this quote. Like many people, it's easy for me to feel discouraged when people don't follow through on things the way I believe they could have. The way I expected them to. But what if they are doing exactly what they should be doing to make me a better person? We cannot learn patience if we never have to wait. We cannot become wiser if we always stay within our own little world. We cannot learn compassion if we ourselves never experience some kind of suffering.
To let go of expectations and our ego is not easy, but if we can do this even just briefly once a day we would see the world from a different perspective and we would live our lives differently. Instead of expecting we would be more accepting. As 2012 comes to a close and we string the beads of life in the new year, will you join me in this challenge to at least once a day for thirty seconds think of the every single person besides yourself as the enlightened ones and your teachers?