To the worker at the Budapest Airport who stole four 1000 forint bills from my luggage, thank you for inspiring me to write this and reminding me that compassion is a virtue that we should never allow anyone or anything to steal from us.
Karma (as defined by Google) is
the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences
When we take things that aren’t ours to possess, the universe has a way of re-balancing. Thankfully, the inverse is also true. Just this week, I found a dollar while picking up trash! Thank you, world.
Back to the person who inspired this post. This goes out to you because you stole out of my bag, but you did not steal from me. You stole gifts from my nieces and nephew. Children! Since you may have kids yourself, and kids learn by example, how will you react when your own children are caught stealing? Or when they become the victims of theft? At the time of this post, the bills you stole were worth $14.26 U.S. dollars. If you needed $14.26 that badly, you could have told me the reason why, and I probably would have given you $20. It can actually pay to be honest.
Initially, I was stunned and started to get upset when I realized the bills had been taken out of my luggage (and pocketed by an airport baggage handler). Stealing from another adult is not permissible, but worse yet is stealing from children. The bills were in my luggage rather than my purse because they were gifts (rather than having monetary value) and I was unable to spend the currency once I left the country.
If someone has the fortune of employment, I wondered what could cause them to risk their position in order to steal something they didn’t earn. Had they endured some type of misfortune? When we take things that aren’t ours, I’ve always believed that creates negative energy and karma in our lives. And life drops enough lemons on us that we don’t need to shake the citrus tree until it falls on us.
When life gives you lemons! (from our trip to Arizona a few days after returning from Budapest)
Once I got over the shock that my bag had been searched and stolen from, I felt compassion for the thief. While acts of human indecency make a victim often feel helpless at the time, it’s usually the person doing the taking that feels helpless all of the time. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this goes back to Psychology class, popped into my mind when I thought about the thief. According to Maslow’s hierarchy, if someone’s basic physiological and safety needs are not met, it inhibits their ability to form emotional bonds and relationships. Sadly, this also damages their sense of compassion for others.
As the Dalai Lama wrote on his twitter account (yes, he has a twitter account),
compassion is not just the business of the religious; it is important to know it’s everyone’s business, it is a question of human survival
Once you’ve moved past meeting your basic physiological and safety needs, what can interfere with your self-actualization? Anger. Hatred. Jealousy.
Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. -Unknown (often attributed to Buddha)
This was not the first time my husband and I were faced with theft while we were living in Eastern Europe this winter. One night, we witnessed a violent act carried out by an abuser punishing a thief. It was a disturbing scene, and when we tried to take action, we were told to stay out of it and that we didn’t understand it because of the cultural difference. My heart went out to the suspect when I learned later than night that he came from a family without money, his father had passed away and he was sending the money he made back home to his mother and siblings. Everyone comes from different life circumstances. If we had been raised in different circumstances, we may very well have a different moral code and be in his same position.
This post would be a lot funnier if I wrote an open letter to my thief (mocking him or her) and shared it on social media for shared laughter from all as fortunate as myself. Yes, I want the bills back. I want to see my nephew and nieces’ faces when they receive a 1000 bill. But anger doesn’t give me those things. It only steals my time and joy.
If you have a computer or a phone and are able to read (hence, reading this post), then you’re already a fortunate person. I’m very fortunate for everything in my life, and thankfully, it’s never occurred to me that if I wanted something, I could just take it from someone else who’s worked for it. I can replace the bills. I can replace stuff. I’ve never been into the stuff, and I keep very little possessions of monetary value. It’s not the stuff that makes us who we are. It’s who we surround ourselves with. It’s the things we value that can’t be bought. It’s who we are when no one is looking.
To the worker who stole gifts for my family, if someone steals from your own children or children you love, act with understanding before anger. You have no way of knowing their life circumstances and their own feelings of helplessness.
No one likes having something taken from them.
Don’t take from others for your personal gain, and that goes for more than just money. Don’t take someone’s possessions, well-being or joy from others. And don’t take someone for granted.
DO give. Time. Loyalty. Friendship. Love. Compassion. #passiton
Inspire us by sharing with the Native Gypsies community how you give and what you DO.