I’ve studied through the slogans a dozen times in my life;
these are my musings on the slogan currently, what comes up on the day that
I am posting the slogan, not a formal interpretation.
For that reason they are less about straight Buddhist teachings,
and I think able to be shared with most practitioners of other faiths or no faith
(unless yours doesn’t allow you to read any other tradition.)
If you have time and the inclination, I published the WHOLE thang here!
It is always surprising what takes hold in your heart.
I had a very bad temper which kicked in around my teen years.
Went hand-in-hand with my family’s addictive issues —
alcohol didn’t help and only fueled the beast.
Getting sober left me with a hole in my heart; this practice
more than sitting (zen sit meditation) helped fill that hole in my heart.
First I tried not to get angry…
Then I tried to develop compassion.
Neither worked in a family that was always angry and fighting and over the top.
Trying to not respond with anger didn’t help, and eventually I felt defeated.
Then as I moved into this practice, and especially in the initial stages, when I was using Pema Chodron’s “Start Where You Are” — an intro to this practice, which can be enlightening even without knowing the practice — I began to learn to be gentle
with myself as I was trying to change my responses.
It seemed backwards, but this process of learning to be gentle with
myself showed me the benefit of easing into gentleness.
Learning to be compassionate for my process and learning curve
helped me to learn compassion towards others.
Being gentle does not mean taking abuse.
Being compassionate does not mean being a doormat.
Being centered is more about drawing boundaries when the other
can hear it and might listen — calmly and thoughtfully —
though sometimes nothing works
and you find your only choice is to walk away.
It feels good not to be drawn into arguments that are not yours,
just because the world has gone mad. I end up feeling sad when a family member
is crazy or lost in a projection or unwilling to listen or have a good relationship with me, but it is better than the feeling of being part of the brawl.
In fact, learning to be comfortable with sadness and love was probably
the biggest step for me, instead of the defense of anger.
Anger is a HUGE defense mechanism…
I found out what was under that anger at any moment.
I still get angry sometimes, but far less…
and far less time is devoted to that anger and far less is directed toward
an actual living being standing in front of me.
Mostly now, I need to vent sometimes… but I am working on that too!
In this weekly commentary on the lojong, I am not open to comments becoming
a debate for people to nitpick Buddhism or my interpretations of Buddhist concepts.
(There are lots of places for debates.) I am more interested in hearing about
YOUR life or how the lojong affected you or your practice awakening in some manner.
For more info about why, go here.
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