Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?

we sometimes act and speak in anger before we realize it and then regret what we've done.  i know i fail to live skillfully in this way, perhaps less frequently now than i might have earlier in my life.  for example, a few days ago, i had a sharp exchange with one who is dear to me.  i was already experiencing irritation with this dear one because my friend kept reminding me of tasks not completed after i had worked very hard that day.  my desire was to let go of thinking of more work and to allow my mind and body to relax, to spend some time in quiet, abandoning all conscious thoughts.  my friend just wasn't going to allow that to happen.  finally my friend insisted on having my attention despite the fact that i kept saying, "just a moment, just a moment."  when i turned my attention to this loved one, it was too late--the anger was apparent in both of us.

as i reflected back on this exchange, i realized that i behaved in a way that failed to show lovingkindness to my friend who is not as far along on the path as i.  certainly there was fault in both of our thinking and actions, but i was so intent on my own needs that i forgot my early morning commitment to think kindly toward others, to refrain from anger, and not to think badly of others.  i had forgotten that love is not irritable or resentful, and i showed neither love for myself nor for my friend.

continuing to meditate on my feelings as i looked back, i accepted that my emotions were natural.  my shortcoming was not the emotions i felt, but rather my neglect of looking at them mindfully.  i did not allow myself to see the need in my friend, as i was so intent on what i perceived to be my own need.  so the question is, "do i continue to beat myself up for my errors?"  my conclusion is that i should not, but i should discipline my mind to see things as they really are, to have an intention to act on thing as they really are, to speak only after analyzing what is really taking place, and to make the effort to mindfully act in lovingkindness.  in short, to walk along the path instead of clinging to my own thoughts.

my prayer for myself and you today is that we will allow our minds to focus on what is true, not on the stories our minds are telling us about our condition.  may our actions be based on rational analysis, accepting our emotions that run contrary to that analysis without allowing those emotions to cause us to act in anger and irritability.  may lovingkindness be our overriding desire.  shalom.

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