Question: “When i’m in a small group of people and I try to add to the conversation, I sometimes feel as though i’m being ignored because people don’t seem to listen to what I have to say. I feel as though my conversation isn’t wanted and all I should be doing is listening to their ego projecting in my ears. I’m not allowed to speak or be heard. I’m suppose to just listen. This makes me angry and i’m just wondering how to deal with one way conversers.”
You say you have to sit and listen to their ego projecting in your ears, but then again it is your ego that’s causing you to suffer and become angry. Why is egolessness so important in Buddhism? Because it’s the one thing that will hold us back from attaining Enlightenment. With ego we become ignorant, attached, and greedy – these are poisons that we must find an antidote in order to liberate ourselves.
There are certain situations where there’s an easy way out. In your case, it’s simply leaving the group of people. If they are your “friends” and are still treated disrespectfully, what kind of friends are they? Not the kind you want to hang around with, that’s for sure. If you know something or someone is going to cause you suffering, harm, trouble, etc., then you must cease it before it happens. That way, you don’t have to be in the situation where your feelings and emotions control you.
On the other more advanced hand, controlling our emotions is very important. If we let everything get to us, then we’ll never get rid of the poison and will always be contaminated! Always, always ask yourself when you’re in a difficult situation or if someone angered you, “How will this affect me?” How will it? Besides causing you to become frustrated and angry, is it doing any good for you? Is it helping you find the path? Is it making you feel good? Probably not. And when you realize that, you can simply let it go! That’s what’s very important here: to acknowledge and to let go!
This is no easy task! This takes years of practice just to accept, and several more years to put it into real practice. I am still practicing this! I work in retail, so on a daily basis I encounter difficult people, and yeah sure sometimes I slip and think of something not-so-nice, but before I say it I realize what just happened and stop myself from every allowing those thoughts through my lips. This not only helps perfect your practice, but also saves you from any negative karma.
The key is to be mindful of not only of people and things around you, but especially of yourself; your thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc. If you allow yourself to be drowned in your own emotions and ego, then you’ll never be the captain of the boat that’ll cross you over the shore of suffering. You must see what you are thinking, saying, and doing, and ask yourself “is this good for me? Will this help me on my path? Will this benefit others?” If the answer is ‘yes,’ then continue on, if not, change it.
In this group of people, instead of feeling angry towards them, feel compassion. Be compassionate towards them because they are affected by the poisons that keep causing them suffering, while you have the antidote to rid your own poisons.
Smile and be well!