Have you ever heard about someone from a distance, independent from a problem can view the situation way better than the person who is in the situation? Well, clearly this is not rocket sense and in a way, it does make a lot of sense. So I was really intrigued when the new TV series, “The Audience” was broadcasted – 1 problem, 50 strangers.
“The Audience” features a group of 50 ordinary men and women who will answer life changing dilemmas and questions. They will follow the person posing the problem around for a week in a bid to get to know them – including at work, at home and when they are socializing, before making a decision. Sometimes they will quietly observe from a distance, but at other times they will be able to ask questions.
The episode I watched was when a 48-years old farmer who have been working in the farm all his life because he felt indebted to both of his 70-years old uncles for raising him up as a child. He was paid just a minimum wage by his uncles to support a huge land of farm all by himself and will only have a weekend off every other week. I am pretty sure the moment you read the facts of the story – you would go like “He should have quitted ages ago!”
Exactly my point – when we use phrases like “I know how you feel”, “I know what you mean, I have been through the same” it will never ever be exactly the same experience as the person undergoing the pain and it takes a lot of compassion for you to internalize the experience. “The Audience” proves that if you really have the intention for the other person to be well, to be happy and for you to sincerely and compassionately try to be in the person’s shoes to understand the conditions around and within him, it makes a great deal of difference being able to help to share wisdom to unlock the person’s perspective and emotions to see the bigger picture.
And, we all don’t need to be in a reality show to observe all that. We go through this every day – the only difference is possibly whether you are the person in the problem or you are not. I have been through both waves of ups and downs. You will be surprised but I felt it helps, to be more in the former for you to be good in the latter. In simplified terms, although problems and challenges makes me feel extremely awful at times, it makes me so much stronger to be compassionate and wise when I need to lend help to others. By going through a downward point in life, you will appreciate when another person is going through similar experience. When you have reflected and grown out of it – always remember to use that learning experience to benefit others.
For those of you riding on stormy waves, remember what does not break you will only make you stronger. This is as always easier said than done and if are still viewing the problem the same way you have done at the very beginning, it is time to flex your perspective and see things differently. For those of you who are fortunate to be enjoying the smooth sail and has the opportunity to lend a listening ear to others in need, don’t just hear what they have to say but learn to listen with your heart. Be compassion to internalize but at the same time be wise to not be attached to any form of emotions that might cloud your view and judgment.
On that very grateful note, enjoy the beautiful melody of “Dedication of Merit” by Venerable Heng Sure.
May all become compassionate and wise