Have you ever been impressed by a great first impression but completely disappointed long afterward? I bet everybody had one. Sometimes life doesn’t go on what we think it should be, and that’s when we need to be mindful.

My department was in dire need of help. We were short on hands and the work was just stockpiled. So, my coworker, which is the HR person, processed recruitment. The process went quite smoothly and fast. In the first few months, a.k.a the honeymoon period, the situation went well and we were so fond of the new person.

However, things start to change after the third month. Not only she didn’t help our work, but she also made the work more complicated. You must pretty much know well that kind of person is. Maybe you have experienced one. I and my friend complained from time to time… How on earth she could nail the interview? Why the first impression was really different from the actual work? And so on and so forth. This was so unexpected! Two of us were included in the interview process. So, we’re quite shocked. I don’t know if she’s so great to present herself, or I was too foolish. “Maybe we were hypnotized!” said my friend.

My thoughts have changed from “maybe she needs some time” until “she has to go…”. However, after a while, I am tired of complaining about her. I realize my attitude of resistance only adds new problems. I hope things back to where it was, but as the Buddha said; change is impermanence. I can’t hope that my work situation is always smooth. After all, it’s not something that is fully under my control. Well… So, here I am, trying to cope with the new situation.

One day, my coworker (not the new guy) sent me a stationery package from the office to my home. It was 3pm. But the sky was so dark, looks like the rain was ready to pour anytime. Grabbing some pennies, I went downstairs to meet the delivery guy.

The wind was so strong when I picked the package. The weather was not going any better. To my surprise, the guy was an old man. Maybe, near 60. He looks so fragile. I wonder how he managed to drive a motorbike for 10km long. Accidentally, I caught his eyes, and I can’t stand it. He looked so worried about the rain. Stunned, I am so ashamed that I only give him 50cent for a tip. It’s nothing compared to his problems!

I hope he is okay. But I wished I give him more money. It might not help much, tho, but at least he deserves more appreciation. This encounter reminds me that other people suffer, too. The old delivery guy must be suffering more since he still needs to work until his retirement age. He must be driving under some pouring rain. He must be tired. What else… He might not get paid decently. Meanwhile, I am dry, safe, and sound here in my room. Working from home. My agony about work is nothing compared to his suffering.

Then I remembered Sushree’s comment in another post:
“Swami Ji jokes often about people who sit very seriously for their spiritual practice then the next moment shout at their partners or children.”
I think this resonates with me perfectly. It applies to everything. When we face a difficult situation, we don’t need to shout or snap. We can practice being mindful. Isn’t that why we meditate? To be strong when the storm faces us? Right. This is the best chance to practice mindfulness. It’s when we face a problem, difficulties, troubles, or misfortune.

Meditation while sitting peacefully is like driving in the countryside. It’s so enjoyable and calming, also so beneficial. While practicing mindfulness when we have a problem is like driving in a traffic jam. It’s more chaotic, but we still need to drive. We need to put more effort to be mindful. When we are mindful, driving in traffic will be more bearable. Then, we can use the same approach with life.

With a dose of mindfulness, we can face a difficult situation with a new perspective. After all, there is always a silver lining to everything. Also, everything will change. The problem will not linger forever. (Although, I still despise everything about the new coworker. Well, that can’t be helped… Or it can! Well, at least I have more motivation now to face her mindfully. Maybe it’s not her fault, it’s just the condition. Or, maybe it’s me…)

Practicing mindfulness doesn’t necessarily make our problems go away any soon. However, it helps us to feel calm. And isn’t that great? Definitely, it’s a better feeling than holding a wave of anger. When we are calmer, we can solve our problems better.

We can perceive a problem in a new way. When we have a problem, know that this is the best chance to practice mindfulness. We might have more chance than we realize.