How a Fridge Gave Food for Thought

Making generalizations and seeking absolutes is a common and fascinating behavior that comes along with being human. It makes sense, as we're desperately reaching for something certain, unmovable and unchanging, so as to identify with as we move throughout an ever changing, uncertain, ephemeral world. We want something steady, something to hold onto, to know without a doubt, to count on as always being true. We so desperately want to be "right". As a result, we begin to mistake our beliefs and opinions as fact and quibble over our differences. We create category upon category of likes and dislikes, and react accordingly to the world as we experience it.

Well, this week one of my own categories was challenged and completely obliterated!

Have you ever worked with or supervised someone that did everything they could do to get out of doing their job? It can be quite frustrating, right? It seems to be a recurring theme for me that has stretched from group work in grade school all along the way well into work life as an adult. Certainly inspired by the incredible work ethic of my father, my brothers and I were bred to believe a strong, thorough work ethic was paramount, and in as much, its opposite was looked down upon with disapproval.

Enter the maintenance worker assigned to make the repairs on the refrigerator I had asked to be replaced on account of a persistent high frequency squeal that most likely would drive the dog-I-don't-own-because-I'm-allergic bonkers. He said he was asked to replace the gasket around the door, which he admitted of course would not heal the squeal. As he looked for the product information in order to order the proper parts, he complained how he didn't want to do the job, how big of a hassle it would be, how it would be easier and more cost effective to just get me a new fridge, etc. As he gave up on finding the product information, after communicating his findings (or lack thereof) back to base through his walkie talkie, he confidently assured me I was going to get a new fridge (because he would do anything so as to not have to replace that gasket.)

Here he was, my nemesis all of these years, the worker that doesn't want to work, the ethic of whom is now going to directly benefit me???

Mind = blown.


Because even that seemingly simple and "solid" construct, that has led to so much unnecessary frustration throughout my life, in the end, was also completely subjective and subject to change! 

All that we need is to be honest and open in order to accept the reality that one single contrary experience can undermine the "absolute truth" of our previously cherished opinions. When we can see the world from a fresh alternative perspective, we're provided a new point of view that allows us to turn away from unhelpful, resentful, ingrained habitual reactions and turn toward making conscious decisions that are fueled by kindness, acceptance, and understanding.

But we can't come out of mental habits that we can't yet see, hence the importance of developing our faculties of mindfulness and loving kindness through the regular practice of meditation.