I am at a cave, and I am just walking inside the gate to visit this important landmark in Buddhism, and a man comes up to me - very "friendly"
And he makes assumptions.
He begins to tell me the history of the caves without giving me a chance to speak.
And he is doing a good job of his explanations.
However, he is pushing me to move quickly from spot to spot to spot - never giving me a real chance to stand and connect with the Pali written on the walls, or the art work, or the feeling of being in the space, or the smells of the space, or to see the small details.
He is just rabbiting on, telling me this point, this point, this point rapidly.
He does not pause for a breath.
He does not give me a chance to ask questions.
And I am polite, I am respectful, I listen to him - even though I am having a hard time pulling out the words that he is saying, and I am only catching half of what he is saying because I have not had enough time to train my ear to the unique way he accents and pronounce English words, I can tell that he speaks many languages by the confused ways the syllables come out.
And at the end of it - he hands out his hand -
And I pull out of my pocket all I that I had
which was twenty rupees - and they were folded up - it look like I gave him only ten.
And he was offended - he crossed his arms, backed away from me exclaiming, "No! No! No!"
And I was so wrapped up in my politeness, in my respect for him, that I attempted to verbalize to him that it was all that I had.
And it was interesting, because when this happened, my regular guide pulled the money out of my hands and placed it forcefully into my unwanted guides tucked arms.
And I was confused - it all happened so quickly - what had just happened?
And I walked away. And the regular guide that I was with handed the man what looked like twenty rupees more when I turned away.
And it was interesting,
Because I was apologizing - feeling bad about not having more -
And my regular guide attempted to shut me down, saying, "It's okay, It's okay," before I fully had a chance to verbalize that I did not understand what had just happened.
And it was interesting, because now that I have had time to reflect on this, I did not feel that the man who approached me and began guiding me without
A. Being invited to.
B. Asking me if I was interested in having a guide
C. Stopping for a single moment to see if the service he was providing me with met my needs.
I did not feel that he was being polite nor respectful.
And yet, I felt stuck on some kind of programming,
I was in the programming of being polite, and respectful and kind - even as I could see that he had an agenda - which created an experience where I was going along with the flow of an experience -
even as it was not a flow of experience I wanted to have happen.
And it was interesting, how he reacted when I gave him what he deemed too little money in compensation for his service.
His service I did not want.
And yet I had an obligatory sense of politeness and respect and perhaps a story in me of seeing the humanity in him,
which kept me in this experience that left me shamed and embarrassed when he rejected all that I had to give him.
I am now seeing how this happens often in my life.
How to be kind as I bow out of these kinds of interactions?