When one possesses the wisdom of the Buddha (in part of course, not in whole), it is easier to empathise with others, especially when confronted by aggression and anger.
When one truly understands that aggression and anger in others is merely a by-product of suffering, anxiety and disorder (dukkha), then the path to forgiveness is but a small step.
It is easy to sound self-righteous when when one is in a position of wisdom, so it is wise to choose ones words carefully when suggesting potential paths for others to take to potentially overcome what pains them; sensitively is required (and perhaps explaining to others that your are free from suffering is best kept to oneself).
Boldly sharing our own negative experiences and explaining how we obtained serenity and peace can often help in such situations.
We all learn by our mistakes and there are always solutions to resolve the root causes of such pain, one just needs to open ones eyes and see the reality of the situation and understand that the solution lies within. Nothing external can fix root cause problems; no pill, no drink, no drug, no advice can eradicate the suffering. Understanding our internal landscape is the key to peace and the gateway to a better life.
A situation happened in work yesterday which made me put in practice what I had learned from the Buddha (via the sage words of Steve Hagen). I had scheduled a meeting in a room at work, but when I arrived there were three occupants in the room. I very politely asked them to leave as I had booked the room in advance and the male turned around and started verbally abusing me, followed up by an aggressive confrontation whereby marched right up to be, putting his face in mine, staring deep into my eyes with such venom. I was in shock at first that such a thing had happened in a global corporation such as mine, promptly apologised to my guest (new customer) and advised that his actions were not representative of the attitude or principles of the company.
Initially I was livid, angry that someone had tried to use their authority / loftier position in the organisation to intimidate me and gain advantage (and my meeting room). After a moment of calm, I soon realised that the confrontation was a reflection on him and of his evident dukkha, so forgiveness was instant. Whether I seek out an escalation to make sure he is aware that his behaviour in our organisation is totally unacceptable is yet to be determined.
I could have given him confrontation back (and a previous version of me probably would have done that and then some) but instead chose not to. I am not a better man than him and he is not a better man the I. We are equal. The difference between us is that I am awake, I understand that it is dukkha that creates such situations, I am understand that dukkha exists and I am aware and in control of mine and he is not. Just because someone has received a better education (him being a privately educated attorney (so I found out) and me being comprehensively educated IT geek), just because someone is further up the chain of command (he being several grades above me (so I found out) in the organisation), just because someone is paid a significant amount extra (a + b = c) does not make him a better person. We are equal.
We. Are. All. Equal.
We. Are. All. One…