Friday, October 2, 2009
‘Remembering this may my mind turn toward Buddha’s Dharma.
Om mani padme hum’
My heart is a vessel filled with Dharma
It rests upon the unstable surface of ego
When ego is jostled
The vessel tilts
And all the Dharma spills out.
Yesterday I was sitting outside, sky gazing, waiting for JW to come home, my heart filled with happy peace, my mind filled with dharma.
Then someone came along and kicked the emotional slats out from under me.
And no matter how hard I tried (and in retrospect I didn’t try all that hard) my ire stayed at Defcon 1. Instead of using Lama’s methods of love and letting go (which I did try on a superficial level) I found my mind returning over and over again to the one comment said under the person’s breath, but I heard anyway. By the end of the day I developed a tremendous martyr complex, which resulted in my screaming at people and stomping and thundering, much like the storm raging outside.
I should never let the thoughts proliferate. Because as soon as I did, the “who can get more pissed off arms race” was on.
It’s easy to brush off something a stranger says to you, especially if that comment was cruel or just plain stupid. It’s easier still to roll your eyes at some internet troll who is simply out to yank your chain. Its’ a different story, however, when someone you love says something awful to you. And more difficult still, to rid yourself of the afflictive emotions that arise from such a comment. You seem to want to grasp onto them harder.
Freedom from this can be done, but it ain’t easy. Sadly, I took the lesser path, proving point blank that I am still oh so far from the goal of enlightenment.
The only good thing that arose from this the knowledge that I have lots more work to do when it comes to Dharma.
• I learned that I still have a colossal ego.
• I learned ego is one of the most unstable surfaces to base your Dharma practice, or anything else for that matter, on.
• I learned that I hadn’t yet tamed this ego and I need to get a whip and chair after it.
• I learned that although I have the tools necessary to love and let go, I didn’t use them properly. I found it easier to invoke my ire at the cruel and provocative statement, letting thoughts and emotions proliferate, not unlike the USSR vs. The US during the cold war, and were fully prepared to invoke my wrath upon the person who angered me with all the poisonous emotions in my arsenal.
Thankfully I did not do that.
My father once said jokingly that I have a temper like a nuclear warhead. First there’s the flash, the firestorm, and finally the fallout that lasts for centuries.
I’ve spent the vast majority of my life trying to defuse my mental A-bomb. Lama Jigme showed me how to do it, even gave me spiritual blueprints and the tools necessary for the disarming.
And yes. It’s always the red wire.
Yet the spiritual armature around all that mental nuclear waste leaked. It wasn’t Lama’s fault that it didn’t work. It was mine. I am the one who left the tools in the shop and decided to disarm my bad temper on my own.
The only thing it gave me was a martyr complex and a strong desire to kick the dog and scream at my husband.
Instead I put the feelings on to the path,(properly and mindfully this time) then, once free from the anguish of afflictive emotions; (and feeling oh so much better, you have NO idea) I sat back and studied the situation.
Harsh speech hurts. Sure, it’s not like getting physically beaten or stabbed or shot, but the emotional pain is there. Sometimes, if you grasp onto it, that pain can last for years, or even a lifetime. Or possibly even longer. And then look at what all that suffering has cost you, in time, effort, and therapy.
Some people are great swordsmen when it comes to their tongues. They know just when to jab and slice and parry. And these people known they cause harm and don’t care. Words are, in fact their primary weapon and don’t hesitate to use them to slice you up inside.
But then there are those, for some reason or another, say things on the spur of the moment that seem harmless on the surface, and yet they cause great harm.
And then there are those thought words that form in your own mind; those terrible things you say to yourself that you wouldn’t dare dream of saying to another person.
All of these things create negative karma; especially when the hurt is ourselves directing it at us. Imagine the negative karmic footprint you place on your own psyche whenever you say or think to yourself, ‘oh I screwed up. I’m so stupid. I’m not worth anything.’ And so on.
His Holiness once said that using harsh and angry speech was like putting excrement in your mouth. Not a pleasant visualization, for sure, but one, I’m sure, will stay with me. Especially whenever I direct harsh speech towards myself.
Am I still mad at the person who hurt my feelings?
Am I over it?
Yes, of course.
I used Lama’s methods of love and letting go…properly this time, and made sure they stuck. I hope this essay has helped you in some way as well.
Have a beautiful weekend.
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