On a recent flight, I was seated in front of the dreaded screaming infant. My old ways would have been to cop an attitude, bitch, and throw some looks at the parents. In other words, generally making the situation worse and ensuring that my experience would get no better.
The funny thing about this experience was that I wasn't agitated or aggravated. I really was just going about my business. Don't get me wrong, I noticed the continual kicking to the back of my seat, mixed with the whaling of an unhappy sole.
About two thirds of the way through the 3 hour flight it dawned on me; this poor unhappy boy had been sitting on his father’s lap the entire time. This had to have been such a struggle for the father, as the child was fighting him for the majority of the flight.
Toward the end, I couldn't help but feel loving kindness toward the son and his father. For the son who was so unhappy, frustrated and anxious; with no other way to express himself than to anxiously wrestle about for hours. And for the father, who stood strong and patient, acting with dignity. Through his actions, I imagined him silently saying to his son, “I'm here, I'm not going anywhere, we are in this together.”
Mindfulness teaches me to experience situations like these differently. Through a frustrating situation, I was able to look at it from another point of view, and experience the depth of a touching human experience; of loving kindness.
In the end, as we were waiting to get off the plane, I was rewarded with a simple thank you from the father. Through mindfulness and my practice, I am realizing that there is more to an experience then just my self-absorbed take on a situation. When I experience a situation with mindfulness, there are many priceless rewards to be had.