Photo by Rena McDaniel taken in Wyoming May 2020.
Big sky is calming and the rainbow coming out of the cloud looks like a bolt of spiritual lightning.
We need calm and a bolt of spiritual lightning about now.
I don’t know about you, but I have lost any modicum of patience I had with people who say stupid things, deny reality or lack human compassion. Consequently, I’ve found myself snapping back in ways that are not all that loving. RE-acting, instead of acting.
Almost immediately, I’m embarrassed by it. I know better.
So when Krishna Das did a teaching on that very subject recently, I felt like he was talking directly to me. The teacher appears when the student is ready.
Here’s a synthesis of his teaching that night:
We get a vote in how we respond to the world around us and within us.
Whoa! What a good reminder, particularly as I shake my head at my recent knee-jerk responses to statements that provoke me. I don’t have to snap back, even if it’s my first response. My response is my choice. So very true.
First, find love within.
This very difficult time is also a good time to look within. (It’s always a good time to look within.) KD suggests that we must first find love within ourselves and also feel compassion for ourselves. Only then are we able to transform that love into social action. And social action is so badly needed today. Still. Maybe always.
Do you feel compassion for yourself? Sure, many of us feel compassion toward others, but toward ourselves? We’re not used to that. To looking at ourselves and our failings compassionately. Not as an excuse, but with love and the desire to do better.
How we respond to the world is within our control, KD says, and it’s important to recognize how our own actions can create more suffering for ourselves –and others.
Yes, first, look at how we create some of our own suffering. Then, we can see more easily how we impact others.
Act, rather than RE-act
It’s useful, he says, to find the strength to release our knee-jerk reactions to the world around us. To people who irritate us. Much of the time we respond blindly with no mitigating function of consciousness or awareness. Something or someone provokes us and without even thinking about it, we lash out.
KD suggests thinking first, then choosing our action.
This hit me like a bolt of spiritual lightning. Not because I didn’t know it already–I do know we have a choice. Of course.
I just haven’t been exercising my choice as much as I could have. I haven’t acted out of love and compassion when I encountered ignorance. Instead, my responses were instant knee-jerks without an instant of thought. Not even one second of thought. My all-too-human failings show me constantly that I am a work in progress.
Carol: Think first.
It’s a simple lesson, but like all effective ones, it came to me at a time when I needed it most.
The Universe does work in mysterious ways, doesn’t it?
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