April 11

Today's quotation:

When you are offended or annoyed by others, do not allow your thoughts to dwell on them or on anything relating to them.  For example, don't think that they ought not to have treated you so, being who they are, or whom they think themselves to be, or the like.  All this is fuel and kindling of wrath, anger, and hatred.

Lorenzo Scupoli

Today's Meditation:

It's kind of funny, kind of sad to see how our thoughts can take perfectly benign--or even joyful--experiences and turn them into something negative.  Our minds often seem to have a life of their own, taking us places that are not just unjustified considering circumstances, but downright silly.  When someone doesn't show up for a meeting or a date, for example, many of us spend much time coming up with extremely negative reasons for what happened, and our thoughts lead us to feel stressed, angry, and possibly even unloved and depressed.

I've learned to tell myself to wait until I know more to react.  Perhaps that person didn't show up because their car broke down, or their daughter needed to be taken to an emergency room.  These things may not be so, but when I tell myself to wait, I don't engage in all sorts of hypothetical thinking that makes me miserable.  I don't get more and more angry at someone when I don't even know the cause of what happened.

An episode of a television show illustrated this very clearly when a man cut off another man for a parking space at a mall.  The second man was extremely angry for a long time until they met the other driver in a store and started to tell him off, only to find out that the man's dog had just died, and that he didn't even remember parking.  All of the time that the angry man spent with his negative thoughts had been completely useless, and had prevented him from spending some very positive moments with his son.

We can't let our thoughts get away from us and take over our lives.  It's important that we do our best to keep our thoughts balanced and not let them take us down paths that we don't wish to travel.  We can always redirect them by thinking of other things, by distracting ourselves from the negative thoughts until we learn more about situations, so that we can let go of the hurt and the anger and move on with our lives in positive ways.

Questions to consider:

How often do your thoughts seem to take over, without any effort from you?

How can we keep our thoughts positive, even in the midst of negative things?

Why do so many people seem to be slaves to their thoughts, rather than masters of them?

For further thought:

The sea reflects the sun perfectly if the water is still.  But if it is agitated by the wind the light fragments into a million mirrored suns.  It is like this with the mind.  If the mind is disturbed by thoughts, the Light of Oneness is fragmented and we perceive only the manyness of things.  When thoughts are still, however, the One Light is perfectly reflected in the mind.

Issa Das
  

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