Chapter6-2 : Suddenly, you find yourself alone No one wants to stay alongside a person who thinks on
All human beings are self-centered.
Thus, whether they are conscious of it or not, they think of themselves first.
Since we’re human, it can’t be helped if we think of ourselves first and foremost.
But if you think only of yourself, the people around you will move away little by little, until you find yourself isolated and alone.
Once I was having dinner with a department head at a major company, and this is what he said: “I’m much better at my job than most people.
I started to succeed early on, and was able to buy myself a condominium at a young age.
I’ve managed to save a fair amount of money over the years.
But somehow I feel lonely.”
“Why is that, since things have gone so well for you?” I asked.
“I’ve worked very hard at putting forth new ideas and managed to push through various projects. Yet, though there are those who are envious and jealous of me, I have no colleagues who share my burdens and rejoice with me in my successes. I’ve had to do it all myself.”
The department head must have been rather drunk when he said this, and it was clear he was saying what he really felt. His work had gone well, but he felt emotionally unsatisfied.
He had raced to the top ahead of everyone, and now he found himself isolated and alone.
Then the department head spoke at very great length about all he had gone through up to that point:
“When I first joined the company, I worked as hard as possible, even cutting back on sleep.
I practiced golf in my free time, not because I liked it, but because it was important as a way of entertaining customers.
I fought with narrow-minded superiors until I brought them around and was able to push through innovative projects.
If a customer complained about something, I took the responsibility and went and humbly apologized on the company’s behalf.
In fact, the whole department as it exists today is pretty much my creation!”
It really seemed as if he had put twice as much effort into the company as anybody else, but I couldn’t help noticing that no one apart from him made an appearance in his account of things.
Everything was about “me.”
So I asked him a question:
“You really have worked incredibly hard.
But all you’ve talked about so far is yourself and what you’ve done.
Didn’t it ever happen that a colleague or a subordinate showed pleasure at what you did, or expressed gratitude?
Were you always the only one who was pleased?”
I was afraid he’d get mad, so I stole a glance at the expression on his face.
With a wry smile, he admitted “You’re right. That’s why I feel so lonely, I guess.”
In Buddhism, the state of being concerned only about yourself is called gari gari (benefiting oneself alone).
A person in that state is said to be a very unfortunate person.
“My advantage, my advantage”—such a person thinks only of himself and does not care at all about others.
He may be blessed with an abundance of material goods, but he will end up alone and lonely.
The reason is that no one wants to stay alongside someone who thinks only of himself.
Everybody moves away from him; and since, in his heart there is only himself, he ends up alone and lonely, no matter how many subordinates or colleagues surround him.
How, then, can we make sure that our hearts will find contentment?
Shakyamuni Buddha teaches:
“One who thinks only of himself will always end up alone. Be concerned, therefore, for the happiness of those around you.If you do that, your heart will find contentment.”
Let’s try to consider, at least a little more than we usually do, the success and happiness of family, friends, and coworkers.
If you have an image in your mind and heart of your family and friends being joyful, then even when you are alone, your mind and heart will be filled to overflowing with their smiling faces.