Don’t Just Do Something. Sit There.

“Though we realize the harm caused by our delusions, such as the damage done to ourselves and others when we act out of anger, we still fall under their influence. Thus an untamed mind throws us recklessly into the abyss instead of stopping when it sees the edge.”
The Dalai Lama, The Way of Freedom

Life seems complicated. The more we try to bend circumstances to our will, the more complicated it becomes. When we live in the delusion of separateness, we feel the need to get more things and privileges for ourselves and for those we identify with. When we believe in separateness, we have enemies. Having enemies, we lose trust. Not trusting, we need to protect ourselves. In order to protect ourselves we develop defenses. Our defenses are imperfect, so they give us anxiety. Being defended and cut off from other people and their resources, we feel lack. Feeling lack, we desire more things. In order to get them in a world of enemies, we step on other people. They dislike us for that. They reinforce our sense of separateness. The circle of fear draws us into increasing greed and inclination to harm others.

When we realize that our separateness from other people is illusion, our hearts open up. When we feel connected, we want to help. When the needs of the other person are as important to us as our own needs, we naturally act more responsibly. We share what we have and we generate goodwill. When we refuse to see others as enemies, we are inclined to make them our friends. When we have made friends, they share as we share. Good things come to us without grasping for them. When we know ourselves and understand our neighbors, we can learn trust. Then we can put less energy into defenses.

When we truly know ourselves, we can see the causes of our suffering. When we recognize that our ignorance, anger and craving cause our suffering, we loosen our grip. We desire wisdom, compassion and non-attachment. When we attain these, we are less ensnared in the pain of delusion. To know ourselves, we must be quiet and listen. We must observe the workings of our mind.

Drop urges to create harm, knowing they are unproductive and harmful to you and every living being. Precede action with reflection. Practice sitting quietly. Still the buzzing brain/mind, so you can hear the stirrings of your heart/mind. Watch for turbulent emotions, and breathe in peace with each breath to settle them. Practice opening your heart to those you would consider enemies. Imagine what might pain them. Send thoughts of love there.  

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© 2002 Tom Barrett