We will not behave as a victim but be active in finding ways to reconcile and resolve all conflicts however small. 8th of the 14 mindfulness trainings ~Thich Nhat Hanh
From chemistry I recall how heat gets molecules excited. So I’d like to partly blame the 100 degrees outside right now for agitated, unsettled feelings inside, but that probably won’t help me or cool the weather. So I sit here at the laptop, hot, reminiscing and letting go of this little introspection through writing to you, dear reader.
Having just moved into an old house, I’m quite happy now have adequate space for me and the stuff. After the effort of getting the boxes and furniture in here I was excited to set up the stereo and fill the air with joyful music. That’s when I realized that this old house has electrical outlets which are not grounded; the standard in California since 1962. A quick test with a meter confirmed this. Uhh ohh, this is not good. Without a ground surge protectors are useless, thus equipment is at risk. My heart sank as some sad feelings arose. How can I power sound and computer equipment? I did not have a simple answer. Editing digital video and images is a joyful hobby that fundamentally requires regulated and safe power.
Last night a half-dozen meditation sangha friends came over for a movie night. A happy house-warming and discussion gathering. In anticipation of their arriving I set up my stereo, tv and dvd player. I sat listening to music while at this laptop typing a note to the landlord about holes in the wall, the unprotected outlets and other problems, when suddenly the music stopped. I went to check if the radio signal was gone but found that the receiver had gone off. That’s odd. When I pressed the power button it came on for a few seconds then turned right back off again. Uhh ohh, a real bad sign:-/ After a few tests I sadly realized that it is in a protect mode, and that internal resistors likely would need be replaced for it to work again, if ever. A blown amp just hours before friends are to arrive for movie night! Breathing in, calming my body, breathing out, calming my mind. That the power is unsafe was no longer a theory.
I cycled over to the landlord to give them the letter and shared my disappointment about the unsafe A/C, and that my amp was blown, likely due to a brief power surge. Doing my best to use right speech, offering what I felt was true, kind and necessary. I was told that an electrician would have to be approved and that the amp was not their problem. Breathing in, feeling strong emotions arise, breathing out, I will not behave as a victim. I left before saying or doing anything else that could make the situation worse. At home I ran an extension cord through the house from the only safe, grounded plug in the kitchen, and connected the video and tv so that movie night could still happen. The night went well with support and empathy from friends on the path.
This is the first space I’ve rented with unsafe power. I moved in here without realizing the shortcoming beforehand. There are so many things to check for when looking for a place to live. I assumed it would be safe when I rented the place, and was not told otherwise. So in a way I feel victimized. Yet I realize that when I noticed that the plugs were ungrounded and I plugged into them anyway, that was my action. I assumed that the equipment would be safe for a short time, and unfortunately was wrong. At this moment I’m enjoying conditions of happiness that exist; I’m alive, the fan is pleasantly blowing across my hot neck, and breaths that are magically calming my heart and mind. I am a victim, and I am also to blame. But I aspire to behave as a free person, free of anger, sadness or other ill being. I am having some success. Also happy now listening to new age music on my old boom box, with its bass-y, low-fi sound. Later tonight I’m assured that it will be much cooler and these excited molecules will slow down.