Sharing the Love – Compassion at the Coffee Shop
Sharing the Love!
This morning at the coffee shop, my coffee arrived with the word love inscribed in the froth. I looked towards the barista to see who it was; just some young guy, sharing the love. A simple act, but sweet and uplifting. These little acts of love and goodwill help to soothe the pain of human hurt and ease the complexities of ongoing existence. All life is on a continuum. Everyone is at a different level of consciousness, which means we are all at a different point in our spiritual development. How we each think, speak, and act is directly related to our level of consciousness and we can do very little else except by gradual evolution. So what sense does it make to blame someone else, or ourselves, for being where we are?
Thinking, at any stage, is directly related to how life is perceived at that level. It is not black and white, good and bad. It is gradations. What looks fine from one level, looks dreadful from a higher level. What is blissful at a higher level is boring and incomprehensible at a lower level. What is satisfying and no problem at one level is totally unacceptable when outgrown. All is relative. As life is a continuum of evolution, it makes sense to remove the blaming and self-righteousness. We are all approaching life in a way that is understandable at any given level of consciousness.
So often, people walk through life with blinkers on, being totally absorbed in their own considerable problems and not really noticing the struggles that others have. And it is very easy to be judgemental and self-righteous about things that happen to other people that we assume would never happen to us. Life is complex and many things can happen that we would not expect. Losing a sense of judgement is a reliable indicator that we have dedicated ourselves to emotional maturity and spiritual growth. It reduces the pain of change and helps us to move forward in life, accepting the altered routes and enthusiastically embracing new terrains. We learn to accept change graciously. Who did what to whom is a trifling matter compared with preserving a stable and peaceful mind. In this way, all change will be to our benefit and will be an advancement in our capacity to fulfil our potential. Life will reward us with love, respect, and success.
Another morning in the coffee shop, as I waited to be served, the manager growled several derogatory and unwarranted demands at the staff member standing next to her. The staff member looked hurt and defeated. In her defence, I spoke up as the manager turned to me. I opened my mouth, “You are…” And then I stopped. In the space of half a second I saw in the manager’s eyes frustration and anxiety. I continued quietly, “You are… very stressed.” Her look softened and she started to laugh. I laughed and everyone around us did too. She said, “I have had a bad morning.” Her whole demeanour changed. She was grateful that she felt better. Before I left, she came up to me and offered me a free coffee card because, “Your coffee was late.” My coffee wasn’t late. She was just expressing thankfulness for love and kindness and that everyone felt better.
How easy it is to blame both other people and ourselves for our ignorance. Yet, it never helps. Although sometimes we must speak up, we do so with the clear understanding that ignorance is simply not knowing any better. Not knowing, deep within ourselves, that we are better off doing things differently. This sort of compassion is not about being virtuous or self-sacrificing. It is simply acknowledging a truth that is everywhere. We are compassionate because there is no other intelligent way to be.
by Donna Goddard