There is an old Buddhist lesson concerning two monks who were traveling and came to a muddy stream.
Resentments are the poison that we drink, and then wait for the other person to die.
Think about it. Think about that terrible thing that (insert name here) did to you back in the long-ago. Think about how bad it made you feel. Think about how you’d like to get back at (**), how you’d like to tell them off in words that would make them shrivel and leave them with nothing at all to say.
How often do those thoughts come into your head? Once a week? Once a day? Continue reading “Do You Want To Be Right, Or Would You Rather Be Happy?”
I was with a group of folks recently who were discussing the fact that addiction is as much a problem of the mind as of the body. Yes, it is a physical disease, but it is also a complex of emotional difficulties and turmoil that can ruin a person’s life, even years after they have put the cork in the bottle or the tracks have faded. This true of all addicts who get clean but fail to make the necessary changes. Call it a “dry drunk, “stinkin’ thinkin’” or whatever you will, it is one of the main things that lead to misery while technically still clean and sober, and often relapse.
The specific topic was how folks sometimes think they can go ahead and drink or use other drugs socially. Continue reading “Stinkin’ Thinkin’, and Less Odious Thoughts”
Two traveling monks came to a muddy stream, where they observed a woman who was hesitant about crossing. The older monk approached the woman, bowed, then picked her up and carried her across the stream. He set her down, bowed again, and he and his student continued on their way.
While they were eating their rice that evening, the younger monk said, “I don’t understand. As monks, we are to have no contact with women, yet you picked that woman up and carried her!”
The older monk said, “I put the woman down at the side of the stream. You are still carrying her.”
That’s how we are. We cling to thoughts and ideas, worrying them and twisting them around inside our heads, causing all sorts of turmoil and accomplishing nothing.
Spirituality is about understanding, compassion, forgiveness, love, willingness to contribute our efforts to help others, humility and things of that sort. Compassion and forgiveness are especially important, because clinging to the resentments that prevent those qualities from shining forth causes us so much unhappiness.
Compassion is, essentially, seeing things from another’s point of view, and being willing to do what we can to alleviate their suffering. Forgiveness is compassion toward ourselves. It is not about “freeing” the other person from anything, but about freeing ourselves of the unhappiness that is caused by being unforgiving.
Like the young monk, we sometimes carry things along with us after the reality has changed, and in our very human way, often blow it up in our minds until it forms a nearly impassable barrier to true spiritual growth. Not until we realize that forgiveness does not involve condoning a wrongful act, but is simply choosing to accept, and move on with our own lives, can we expect to get beyond it. That doesn’t mean that we have to invite the person to dinner, but only that we need to learn to put down our own burden after we have crossed the stream. We don’t need the excess baggage.