Shahriar Shahriari

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Message of the Month

October, 2002

Receiving End

As I was changing my son’s diaper early this morning, it occurred to me that I was at the receiving end of his work. Yet I did not have a second thought about wiping his bottom clean and changing his diaper, I proceeded with unshakeable patience and surprisingly even some joy. And of course, his approving smile was the bonus I was not expecting.

And so I was thinking… isn’t it interesting that with our bare hands, we so willingly and happily dive into… well… the stuff babies put in their diapers? Yet we do not complain, nor do we keep coming back to the fact that we had to deal with this or clean up that… We stand at the receiving end of the baby’s diaper – with patience and joy – nay sometimes even with relief and gratitude…

Yet, when life hands us a load of what babies put in their diapers, we complain and moan and talk to anybody and everybody in sight about how tough we have had it, and how badly we were treated by circumstances or by so and so.

It occurred to me that if only we start having a new philosophy in life – something along the lines that life is a diaper, and you never know when it is going to be filled – or more seriously, if only we would treat the hardships and challenges of life, with the same fortitude and composure as we would our baby’s diapers – without a second thought, with equanimity, even with some joy and gratitude – then perhaps we would have had a different world to live in.

As I was looking into my son’s eyes when he was smiling his approval, I realized something even more profound.

I realized that while I looked upon myself as the person who is at the receiving end of his diaper’s load, he too is at the receiving end of my reaction. If I were upset with being at the receiving end, then perhaps I would not have cleaned him up as well as I could, or perhaps I would have put on his fresh diaper too tightly or loosely, each of which leading to a new set of consequences.

Yes, I was at the receiving end, but so was he.

I guess we have no control over what life hands us, but we do have control over how we deal with them.

But more importantly, every time we are at the receiving end of anything – delightful or unpleasant – somebody or something else is at the receiving end of our reaction… the chain of causality is endless.

So no matter what is in the diaper of life, the big question is how are we going to approach it?

© Shahriar Shahriari
Los Angeles, CA
October 2002

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