Yes, it’s cliché. But it’s also very true.
Even if you’ve never had a run-in with the law,
even if you’ve never done drugs, or peed on the sidewalk;
even if you’ve never uttered a harsh word,
If you associate with those who do, others will think you do, too.
Is it fair? No, but judgmentalism and preconceptions abound.
And not everyone is as enlightened as Buddha Cat.
If you associate with people of ill repute long enough,
you will do all of the things they are doing.
My chemistry prof used to call it
"Evil through osmosis"
The company you keep doesn’t have to be nefarious gangsters, or people who pee on the sidewalk.
They can be a gossipy friend.
The acquaintance who squanders your time with nonsensical speech.
The nosy neighbor who just has to know about the affair in apartment 4-b.
The back-stabbing co-worker who ‘confides’ in you.
The psychic vampire who wants to give you all the juicy details about someone’s divorce.
Just as a clear crystal takes on the color of the cloth upon which it lies, the mind also becomes colored by the company it keeps.
And no matter how hard you keep the crystal of your mind clean
It sullies when dropped into the dirt of harmful actions.
So, when you wish to refrain from harsh or foolish speech, you will understand that it is best to be mindful about the company you keep.
“I’m sorry, I’m not available for this conversation.”
Just as an alcoholic would avoid going to the nearest roadhouse,
Avoid toxic people for exactly the same reasons.
Because if the gossipy friend is talking about your other friends, it’s a surefire bet that she’s also talking about you.
If the backstabbing coworker ‘confides’ in you, chances are excellent you’re the next target for the proverbial knife in the back.
When the psychic vampire wants to plug you about his latest sexual conquest, you can walk away.
Yes, this sounds harsh, but the truth is, you can’t go through life without hurting someone’s feelings. And believe me, the aforementioned people wouldn’t miss a wink of sleep each night knowing they hurt yours.
If I walk away learning just two things from Lama Jigme, it’s this:
Being compassionate doesn’t make you a spiritual door mat.
I’m a Buddhist, not a vomitorium.
And neither are you.
Whether you are Buddhist
The same holds true for all.
You aren’t known by the labels you carry, but by the company you keep.
May all beings benefit
Om Mani Padme Hum