Troublemakers and Pain

One of many struggles people deal with when considering the question, ‘is there a god’ is the question of pain. Pain can register from minor social irritants like the loud neighbors next door to homelessness, the ravages of death and disease.  

Some people reason that all pain is necessary and has benefit.  Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun and teacher in the Shambhala tradition,in the Tibetan tradition,  says that in the vaJiana tradition of Buddhism your teacher becomes your biggest trouble maker.  The idea is these irritants reveal chinks in the armor so to speak.

Pema Chodron “Troublemakers”

 Does all pain have value if one knows how to leverage it? Do we value the human irritants in our lives or shun them? Part of a healthy meditation regimen is bringing your ‘third eye’ to bear on uncomfortableness in yourself.  Do your experiences bare this out or not agree?  What about pain inflicted by war or natural disasters, necessary and fruitful? To those of you that are perhaps Buddhist initiates or laymen forgive me for not talking about what Buddhism says and for making pain and suffering synonymous.

Your thoughts?

Once in the early 80s when I managed a Howard Johnson restaurant in New Jersey, I had inherited a very good staff that got along with each other for the most part and were kind of on auto pilot.

At one point a young man interviewed to be a waiter.  Spencer had big strawberry blond curly hair and had the biggest attitude I’d seen in a while.  He was FLAMING gay, and a white boy, ‘girlfren’ neck jerk, two snaps up down hands on hip, ‘I ain’t the one’ in your face individual,.

I hired him on the spot and others just “knew” at some  point upper management would fire me for this.  If upper management got there noses out of joint they never said anything so my sense is they didn’t.  At first he was a novelty to some of the managers on my staff but later on he was just good and fun.

Man, Spencer turned that restaurant upside down and inside out especially Peggy. Peggy was probably 60 years old, a career server, and a devout fundamentalist Christian, as was I.  Well after this she didn’t think I was, lol.

I should have had a badge for Spencer, ‘I push buttons,’ or something.  I had to suggest to him time-outs, shut down cat fights, constantly cool off Peggy and others too.

The other side of Spencer?  Spencer was very professional on the floor, conscientious, and one of the most talented people person, food delivering waiters I’ve ever seen in the ten or so years I was in food service. He had a great sense of humor, used the word ‘bitch’ a bit too much, and seemed to accepted others, and didn’t hold a grudge.  Spencer was an authentic person and I am so glad I hired him.

The culture of the staff improved, he was a great salesperson and other’s sales went up.  One or two _maybe_ because they weren’t gonna let ‘that fag’ outsell them but mostly because of his example and egging them on.

Parenthetically, a note about top down management.  The homophobe thing had very little traction because it wasn’t a part of me, I detested it, I was at the top of the ‘foodchain’ and that’s what went downhill. That’s why when a law suit brought against Denny’s restaurants claiming racism  ‘proved’ in court the issue was pervasive, not isolated I assumed, it was a top down attitude from management. I haven’t eaten at Denny’s since.

A poem from an irritant.

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I am a monk. Breath in Breath out Be congruent meaning be true to yourself Walk in Love forgiving all even yourself Love the Walk recognizing your imperfect finiteness in the light of your infinite self for now we see through a glass dimly It's an ongoing process not a one shot deal
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