Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 03/03/2018


Even when someone I have helped,
Or in whom I have placed great hopes
Mistreats me very unjustly,
I will view that person as a true spiritual teacher.

This verse has taken on a great deal of meaning for me lately as I push myself to overcome my myriad defilements and practice the paramis in pursuit of liberation. Both at work and at home I am in close contact with people who are difficult and seem to bear me ill will. One is an employee of mine so the enmity is less overt, more passive aggressive but the hatred that rolls off of him is palpable and unmistakable. Another is my spouse who is unafraid to show her disdain and even contempt. So, why don’t I get rid of my employee and demand better from my partner?

In short, demanding respect is never a winning strategy and negative attitudes like the one my employee has taken on usually resolve themselves quickly without my intervention (besides, that’s what my general manager is for). So, rather than try to change the outward circumstances I am truly taking the teachings to heart and have actually developed a begrudging gratitude to them both for the opportunity they’ve given me.

May I practice with integrity and ardor, especially when it is inconvenient or seemingly against my better interest.

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.