I take very good care of myself. So, I was quite surprised, yesterday, when I noticed I had what appeared to be a large sting on my bottom. I was so surprised, in fact, that I kept poking it, scratching it, and making it worse. Before I realized what a stupid thing that was to do, and resolved to stop.
It made me think about how many of us do the same with our other sources of suffering.
When we become aware that we’re feeling angry, irritable, horny, lonely, or sad, instead of leaving it alone, and letting it pass, we start poking the boil. We remind ourselves that we’re feeling lonely, angry, and unsatisfied. We tell others that we’re feeling that way. And instead of doing things that might resolve those emotions – (like meditation or something productive) – we practically make a comfortable environment for our frustrations and sorrows, so they’ll be more inclined to stick around for good.
But this is no good. It is like getting stung by a bee, but refusing to remove the stinger, pushing it in deeper. By holding onto our problems, and treating them like permanent things, they become just that – permanent problems.
We need to understand that all our negative emotions are temporary and without a permanent reality. They are not a product of our external environment, but originate entirely in the mind.
If we hold onto them, we create a distance between reality and our self. There is You – there is Your Anger – and then there is Reality. But if you take that negative emotion away, everything becomes reality again.
So, the next time you feel angry, lonely, sad, frustrated, or dissatisfied, remind yourself these feelings will end – that they are not permanent – and that they have no basis in reality. No one is to blame for these feelings. Any cause that you can find for them outside of yourself is illusory. It all starts within you, and must be solved within you too.
Tell yourself that you will overcome them. Tell yourself that peace, equanimity, and compassion are the only eternal parts of your being. These negative feelings are just like dust falling on a perfect mirror. Insignificant, tiny particles of non-truth, that can always be cleared away.
Meditation is the best way to keep the mirror clean.
Just stop poking the boil!