by Sr. Mary Thill, OSF
The winner sows hatred
Because the loser suffers.
Let go of winning and losing
And find joy.
Our duty is not to see through one another,
But to see one another through.
– Leonard Sweet
It could be all the sports’ finals going on at this time of year, including the recent Olympics, or last year’s elections, but I find myself very aware of the winners and losers all around us. I count myself among them at times and I really like what the Buddha has to say in regard to all this, “Let go of winning and losing and find joy.” I don’t know about you but I like being joyful rather than resentful or unhappy because someone else has won or is happy. I also chalk this up to the human condition and try my best to overcome my lesser self and work on my emerging true self which includes my shadow, my hatred, my anger and all those things that others see in me and don’t show up in my mirror.
This call for letting go in order to find joy also extends to the quote by Leonard Sweet. When I first read these words I was struck by how meaningful they were to me. They really seemed to strike home. How often I try to see through another’s words and actions rather than just see them through. I suppose if I was a medical doctor or a psychologist or a counselor of some kind it would be my role to look carefully into my patients’ or clients’ lives to see through their issues and challenges. Hopefully that would lead them to wellness and eventually to joy. Since I’m not that kind of a professional helper, I need to look at my tendency to want to see through a person’s motives and be a ready and willing presence, a listener, a helper and someone to just be there for them.
Let me share one way that I have learned to see another through rather than to see through another. The word that comes to mind when I think about “seeing through another” is judgment. As an ordinary human being I don’t have to know every reason for someone’s words and actions. I may think I do, but do I really need to know why someone replied to what I thought was an innocent question with a “smart” remark? Face it. I don’t know what just happened before my encounter with that person, and I can easily judge her to be nasty especially when that seems to be a common reaction on her part. I have found that when I cease judging on my part and try to just be in the moment, I often, though not always, can see her through whatever she is going through. This also leads to a sense of joy because some big, overblown argument is prevented by my patience and presence. Let me tell you this is not easy to do some times but it has saved me on many occasions and also saved many relationships.
As we move on during these pandemic times, as things get back to a new normal, let’s try to be there for one another in this time of adjustment and see one another through rather than wasting time and energy trying to see through one another. Let go of winning and losing and find JOY!