January 8

We have to endure
the discordance between
imagination and fact.  It
is better to say "I am
suffering" than to say,
"This landscape is ugly."

Simone Weil


Today's Meditation:

It sometimes amazes me--and saddens me--how strongly my perspective is affected by my moods.  I don't know how many times I've glanced in disdain at a beautiful landscape because I was feeling down; how many times I snapped at another person or judged them harshly because I was feeling frustrated myself.  It's never been fair to the other people, nor has it been fair to me to allow myself to miss the chance to ponder great beauty or say something kind, considerate, and/or encouraging to a fellow human being.

When we have feelings that keep us from seeing the world for the miraculous place that it is, why is it so difficult to keep those feelings to ourselves?  Why must we judge things outside of ourselves so harshly when the true problem is the discord inside ourselves? 

When we're frustrated or depressed, our imaginations tend to sharpen and magnify all of our problems.  We imagine that people are angry at us, that someone has harmed us, that they deserve a harsh reprimand or a sarcastic comeback.

But that's just what we imagine when our minds are focused on ourselves because of our own suffering.  Simone is saying that during those times, it's important that we recognize what's going on, for only when we do so will we be able to keep ourselves from doing things that we most certainly will regret later.  Awareness of our own states is one of the most valuable qualities that we can develop, for that awareness can serve as a wonderful filter that keeps the negative from leaving us when we can least afford to be spreading it.

Questions to consider:

Why might we tend to speak more harshly when we feel discord within ourselves?  Why might we tend to judge more quickly?

What would be the value of more carefully considering what we're about to say at any time?

Why do our imaginations tend to make things worse in our minds when things aren't going well?  How can we effectively deal with this tendency?

For further thought:

We can see in the puddle either
the mud or the reflection of
the blue sky, just as we choose.

Lucy Fitch Perkins


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