Daily Prompt: Squat

800px-20060730160336_-_t27_-_toilet
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

I laughed when I saw that the Daily Prompt for today was “Squat.” My laughter was because it reminded me of something that happened in the 90’s.

First I will give some back story. When I first started going to Amma’s Amritapuri, India ashram in January of 1990, all of the toilets were squat toilets. I found them uncomfortable to use. My balance was shaky and as far as I was concerned they were just plain weird. Over the years, I became more used to them but I still didn’t like them, and I internally grumbled about them a lot.

Eventually, I became irritated by my own negativity. By then I had learned Byron Katie’s process for addressing negative judgments. At one point in her process you create “turnarounds” for a negative judgment and then examine the turnarounds to see if there is any truth in them. For example, if my belief is “Susan is angry with me”, the turnarounds would be “I am angry with me” or “I am angry with Susan.” The belief “My boss should listen to me more” could be turned around to say “I should listen to me more” or “I should listen to my boss more.”

One day in the mid-90’s, the familiar thought, “I hate Indian toilets,” ran through my mind. A voice within me said, “Now turn it around.” My immediate response was that the turnaround would be “I love Indian toilets.” That statement was so unacceptable to me that I wouldn’t even entertain the possibility that there could be truth in it. Then another sentence came to mind. “I love to hate Indian toilets!” That turnaround sent me into laughter and my energy shifted completely.

As the the years went by, most of the toilets in the ashram became toilets that combine the two styles, but once I had accepted the belief that “I love to hate Indian toilets,” I no longer had the strong negative reaction to them. Even today, I smile when I recall that long-ago incident.

Why?

When I was walking in my neighborhood two weeks ago, I saw this tree stump and wondered why it had been decorated it this way.  After pondering it for some time, the story I made up was that the homeowners didn’t want the tree there and didn’t want to take out the stump.  I suspected these materials were placed in this way to keep people from tripping over it. Continue reading “Why?”

Compassion Wins!

In June, I wrote a post Judgment or Compassion about the negative judgments I have whenever panhandlers approach me asking for money. Many readers commented on that post. Their responses were interesting and helpful to me, and hopefully to each other as well.

I decided to try Oliana’s suggestion of putting some dollars in my pocket and to generally give when asked, without thinking about it. I liked the experience of being free from negative judgments a lot. Feeling compassionate brought a smile to my face.  On the days I did that, there was only one time that I didn’t give anything, and that was when the person was obviously very drunk. I used my discrimination and chose to withhold the gift in that instance.

About a month ago, I had an experience that I considered not writing about but have decided to share it. There have been two times in my life when I have felt “tested” on this issue in a way that felt very mystical. In the first instance, I believed I failed the test. The second time was this recent occurrence. Continue reading “Compassion Wins!”

Judgment or Compassion?

There are a lot of homeless people living in  Seattle, especially in the Green Belt, a forested area, part of which is located near my home. There are times when I strike up a conversation with them or at least smile as we pass by each other on the sidewalk.

I really notice the difference between my behavior in those situations and when I am approached by a panhandler in a parking lot or near the entrance to a grocery store. Continue reading “Judgment or Compassion?”