An unexpected book arrived in the mail the other day. A gift from my friend’s at Wisdom Publications. Zen Master Raven: The Teachings of a Wise Old Bird. by Zen Master human form, Robert Aitken. Here the koans are told by and to animals of the forest: raven, porcupine, owl, woodpecker, badger, black bear, and […]
It’s Wisdom Wednesday! In a previous entry, I discussed how the Buddha loved to teach with metaphors. Each Monday I present a new metaphor for your enjoyment, education, and inspiration. For previous metaphors see the entries on Teach a Horse to Sing, Being Comfortable Being Out of Balance, Everybody Needs a Tap Code, and “Her Belly May Be Full But Her Spirit Will Be Empty.”
your proper poetical education in the metaphor, you are not safe anywhere.”
be comes from the Sanskrit bhu that mean to grow or to make grow. “Am” and “is” evolved from the same root as the Sanskrit asmi that mean to breathe. He concludes, “It is something of a lovely surprise that the irregular
conjugation of our most nondescript verb is thus a record of a time when man
had no independent word for ‘existence’ and could only say that something
‘grows’ or that it ‘breathes.'”
A WORD is dead
When it is said,
I say it just
Begins to live
She is right. The words we utter to each other and in the privacy of our own minds matter, and can make the difference between happiness and misery.
We’ve all been admonished not to believe everything
we read–after all, the press is fallible and marketers
are always selling you something. The best approach
to the written word is to develop a healthy skepticism.
But what about the cogitated word?
I’ve seen a bumper sticker that neatly sums it up
for us: “Don’t Believe Everything You Think.”
If we validate thoughts as truths simply because
they originate within our own skull we’re going to be
in all sorts of trouble. What might it mean to recognize
thoughts as just thoughts and develop a healthy
skepticism toward them, without mistaking our
thoughts for Ultimate Truths? Is there a way to do this
without becoming cynical or debilitated?
We can start with the mental objects that have a
negative flavoring, the ones that are critical in nature.
When they arise, first ask, “Is there any important feedback
for me here; is there something for me to learn?”
If so, identify that important feedback, say “Thank
you” to the critical thought, and move on, integrating
that feedback to the extent that it is useful and possible.
Often, however, there is no useful feedback or corrective
action to take, such as when you are dealing with
a generalized criticism like, “I am no good.”
Mindfulness practice will help you to become
“suspicious” of these thoughts and less sucked into
their negativistic stories. It takes some practice and
time to develop the sensitivity to recognize the feeling
flavor of what I call the strident self–the inner voice
screaming thoughts and hawking them as the final
words on all matters.
With mindfulness practice, you can bring a degree
of distance and incredulity to such interior utterances.
You can smile and ask patiently, “Says who?”
- Metaphor Mondays
- TED Tuesdays (mindfulness-inspiring talks from the TED conferences)
- Wisdom Wednesdays
- Teachers and Talks Thursday
- Free From Friday
- Science/Sport Saturday
- Stress Reduction Sunday