A World of Difference

Before I get down to a few moving-related tasks today, such as notifying various official bodies of my upcoming change of address and packing a few more things, I want to write about something that came to mind a few days ago: there is a world of difference for me in whether I approach a situation by sitting still and asking what is being called for from me, than if I approach it with an attitude of something is wrong and it must be fixed.

The former way, of listening for what I am being called to do in response to the situation, is far more likely to keep me open to any possibility and it is more probable that I will think and behave compassionately.

If, however, I look at the particular circumstances as being wrong, I am immediately in a judging, blaming, closed-down state of mind with very limited possibilities available to me. And what is wrong, after all? We generally use this word to describe something we don’t like, don’t want, didn’t expect, is causing harm to me or others or that we judge to be unethical or incorrect. Something perhaps that arouses fear or disquiet in us. But labeling the situation as wrong feeds into the mind of aversion and I am then mostly concerned with rectifying the situation so that I can feel at peace again (though I might not see that at the time). In other words it is all about me.

It is hard to let go of blame, but I see more and more that it doesn’t help things. And I’m not denying that we sometimes have to deal with circumstances that are a cause for deep concern. Recognising and accepting our own fear and distress is a necessary step in becoming still. Allowing skillful action to be called forth from us, it is more likely that we will do what is of most benefit to all beings, and that, of course, includes ourselves.

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