I was in the bank to get a mini statement from the cash machine. The machine stated there was no available print outs so I went to the next one in the row.
In front of the next machine after that was a customer who was withdrawing money, a large numbers of notes fanned out in his hand. He meanwhile was displaying overt gestures of love and gratitude to the machine, even blowing kisses to the money-producing chamber.
Unusual, I thought. Gave him a bit of a wide berth as he was taking up a lot of space and lurching over towards the machine I thought, originally I would use. I dropped back and waited for him to finish and go before I would step forward for my turn.
He went to walk away and then returned to continue the acts of what seemed like a display of worship, practically genuflecting and continuing his engagement with the machine. This happened a third time only, now he directed his attention to me.
"What are you fucking standing behind me for, look, one, two three machines you could use, why you want to wait for this one?" Loads more abuse. He turned to walk away, no; he doubled back again to hurl more aggression and abuse.
I could feel anger rising up in my body, especially my face, which was feeling hot and no doubt turning red. It's funny (not particularly ha ha) in these instances how it could go so many different ways.
Found myself oscillating between feelings of defiance, a bit of uncertainty as to whether he might lash out, in which case being very on guard and then actually thinking NO, I can choose whatever fucking cashpoint I want, who the fuck are you to dictate to me.
In reality, I stood very calmly, looked into the man's face and engaged. No he didn't revert to the previous, demonstrably humble recipient of cash machine love. His anger remained, but he shunted off.
I on the other hand felt positive growth. I did not challenge, I did not waver, I did not engage in flight, fight, freeze or fear.
Keeping with the fundamental principles of meditation practice, I stayed present moment focused. Objectively alert to my subjective feelings and present enough to respond and not react.
Mindfulness practice really does pay off.
We've all met this guy in some form or incarnation right?
No doubt we'll meet one again , but having a daily practice of any mindfulness or meditation can certailnly help to mitigate some of the less favourable effects these potentially negative situations can have on us.
How is your practice going?