What is your best skill?
I’m a meditation teacher. I tell the students this at the beginning of class.
“Did you know? Every one of us has at least one outstanding talent. We’re all born with it. I’m the only one who has it. Some people know and develop this ability on their own, but some people don’t even know they have it. What choice would you like to make?”
What’s the best choice for you? It’s natural to want to discover and develop your unique ability, isn’t it?
Listening to my friend’s problems is one of my strongest skills. I had a lot of failures developing this skill. I’ll try to explain it briefly.
My mom used to talk to me about her troubles and hard feelings when I was a kid, just like any other daughter-mother relationship. I watched quietly her when she had a row with my dad or grandma, for example. Outside, I listened quietly, but inside, I was thinking a lot. I judged the world through my mother’s eyes when she gossiped with me.
‘It’s hard to live life, and lots of annoying and heartbreaking things happen in life.’
My mind was filled with these negative thoughts.
As I got older, I learned to listen to my friends. I was always surrounded by friends who told me about their worries, and my bright personality was judged. Despite that, my heart was full of negative thoughts, just like when I was a kid. The negative mind inside me grew stronger and closer to exploding as time passed. Since I haven’t abandoned these thoughts, I’m at the breaking point.
There were two important incidents not long ago. My empathy was drained and my negative mind exploded.
It was two friends who switched jobs and started a new challenge, but they were in a bad mental state, so they kept telling me they were having a hard time. I didn’t have the space in my heart to listen to these friends’ stories because my head is also full. Then these friends didn’t seem to be able to create their own lives. As I told them, I would be honest with my advice. ‘You’re not ready to move on yet. How about doing a little more research and putting more effort into your current job?’
It was a disaster. Both of my friends were hurt and estranged from me. I regretted it when I saw their disappointed faces. And I’m exhausted Then I had time to meditate. My eyes were on myself. I had a lot of time to reflect on my heart, my relationships, and my life.
I threw away all the negativity I’d accumulated from my relationship with my mom.
I’ve come to the following conclusion after several months of meditation.
There’s no need for me to help them. Let’s listen to the story quietly.
Give them my full attention, don’t rush to give them my advice, and don’t judge them.
If their heart is hard, sympathize with them and tell them ‘you did well done.’
Let’s buy them a meal or a cup of tea when we talk about life’s difficulties.
I got results when I changed my mind like this.
My meditation class student told me about her problems. She complained about being angry and suffering because she fought with her friend all the time. I made eye contact and listened to the student sincerely. After listening to the story enough, I said, “You must have suffered a lot. Thank you for talking to me.” That’s it. After that, the child was able to meditate and let go of hatred on her own. The child has changed.
There’s also the case of a friend of mine who fought with a coworker recently. By chance, she talked about her unfortunate experience while having tea. All the way through, I listened quietly. My friend must have been going through a tough time. No advice from me. I bought her lunch and listened to all the stories as we drank tea together. I spent a lot of time listening to my friend’s concerns, but it was well worth it. This is what my heart went through. I received delicious food from her after our gathering. She was smiling when she delivered the food. I liked the food she made. (She is really good at cooking!)
Mediation gets rid of my negative mind and my usual stress, so my mind has more space. When my mind is free, I can empathize with others and communicate with them. This is an ability I would like to develop further. I want to help my family and friends. So I want everyone around me to be happy.