The senior executive completed his presentation and rose to accept questions. The evaluating panel began their questioning gently but soon the discussion became heated with the chief of the panel directing some sharp words at the senior executive with a ring of condescension in them. The entire room went silent as the essence of the words sunk in. The young apprentice sitting along-with the senior executive winced internally on hearing them. Her senior though remained unaffected. Requesting more time to support his view, he made a quiet exit with his young ward in tow.
The drive back to office was a quiet one. The young girl was both seething at the obvious insult to her senior yet too pained for him to mention anything. She stole a quick look at her boss. He was many decades her senior. A highly respected professional, he was also a patient boss who took a lot of trouble to educate and train his subordinates. Little wonder they held him in such high regard and felt pain at the sign of any disrespect shown towards him. But now he appeared relaxed and focused on his driving. Not a word on the matter transpired between them over the next few days. However both of them fell headlong into preparing their rebuttal for the panel.
A few weeks later, they found themselves facing the very same panel. Very calmly the senior executive explained his point of view using good references and strong credentials. The head of the panel was much mellowed in his questioning and finally the discussions ended in healthy handshakes and an exchange of pleasantries.
The young girl was elated! As soon as they reached their workplace, she turned around and told him, "Sir, I was quite upset all these days at the behavior and words the panel head used at you. He had no right to do so! I'm glad you taught him a lesson today." She was in for a surprise, for what she heard from her boss, was something so different and so unique that it transformed that girl completely from then on. This is what he told her.
"My dear girl, you are completely mistaken in holding that gentleman at fault. No one is to be blamed for what you heard and what I was subject to. There's only one individual responsible for it and that is myself. What we endure, what we undergo and experience are only the consequences of our own actions. Both the sum total of our past actions and those with reference to the task at hand. If there were harsh words said, if there was derision and insult, it is only the result of my own actions. This is KARMA. One must never mistake the messenger or the vehicle for the consequence of one's own actions i.e. I cannot blame or fault that gentleman because he is only the channel through which the universe balances my actions."
"Once we understand this truth, we can begin to learn how to separate the SELF from the EGO. We can be free of anger, vengeance and self-pity. We begin to understand the consequences of our actions with clarity. This directs our efforts in constructive measures and helps us become calm and objective in our approach to work and life."