It is not the situations in themselves which brings suffering but how we relate to them. This is commonly accepted to some degree, but only completely seen by those who have explored this more consciously.
My partner and I have had ample opportunity to explore this over the last week or so. Our new housemate (who moved in and then promptly disappeared for three weeks) is going through situations which typically does trigger things in people – breaking up with a girlfriend and his father being ill – and which his current coping skills are not quite up to dealing with. The resulting stress comes out in intense activity throughout the night (which keeps us awake, even with earplugs), smoking in and around the house, anger and reactiveness and more.
For us, it has been a great opportunity to work with it through the Byron Katie inquiries and also in person with him. I had an opportunity some nights ago when I checked in with him to see if we could find a solution to night activity and he responded with a great deal of anger. My partner had an opportunity this morning when he similarly exploded – after learning that he would not get all his money back for the four weeks of rent he has paid (although gone for two without letting us know what had happened).
We both were able to stay calm and clear, and compassionate and firm, and deal with it in ways we don’t regret. Although we also know that there is always further to go in wisdom, compassion and skillful action. For our current levels, it was pretty good, and yet nothing to defend – there is always further to go.
It is a reminded that even potentially difficult situations, such as dealing with a housemate situation where there is not a good match, can be a way to practice, learn and gain insight. We get to put into action our current limited realizations, clarity and compassion, and it also is a good motivation to explore and deepen into this further.
Of course, we did have an upper hand since we live here and own the house (at least the bank do), which does make it easier for us. In another situation, for instance in his, it would probably have been more difficult.