Monday, December 10, 2012
There has been a lot of dharma drama going on amongst members of the American Buddhist internet "sangha" over the past week. If you know about it, you know about it. If you don't, I'll spare you the details, other than that it involves sex, teachers, and students. Big surprise, eh?
Anyway, here's my humble offering to the pot today. Which doesn't require any awareness of the drama mentioned above.
There is a very big difference between responding and reacting .
When we respond to a situation, we are aware of the impersonal quality of what is occurring. Life is occurring, and we are part of that life occurring.
When we react to a situation, we view what is occurring as a personal threat, as an attack, or as a punishment. Life is happening ONLY because I did something, or I am something someone does not like, or I did something that deserves to be punished.
Now think about about, does the world really work that way? Is it really possible that things are occurring solely because of you, and the interplay between you and one other person? It's pretty damn unlikely. There are a myriad of factors that come into play in any given situation. The "you" and "I" are only part of the equation, and usually a tiny part at that.
Thich Nhat Hanh writes: "When we cannot communicate, we get sick, and as our sickness increases, we suffer and spill our suffering on other people."
A major part of communicating effectively involves coming from a place of non-reactiveness. Being calm enough to take in the jumbled, confused expressions around you without having to defend some territory called "I." It's really not an easy task, and most of us - me included - fall flat fairly often.
And sometimes, it's really best to be quiet. To go back into our meditation practice, and let go of needing to fix, or be right, or help, or whatever it is you want your words to do.