Two sides of each emotion

Buddhism says that each of our emotions have two sides- positive and negative.  While one can’t anything about having emotions and one has to live with them, one can change our reaction and outcome for each emotion. So for example, tranquility can be seen as a positive thing but taken too far, it can make us seem too complacent to be bothered about anything.  So as long as we are happy in our little world, we are not concerned about the rest of the humanity.  On the other hand, anger is seen as a negative emotion.  But it can be a force for good too. It can be justice, it can be a strong concern to change something in ourselves and others.

I mostly live in the world of tranquility- happy to live and let live.  But because of this attitude, I have been taken for a ride, people have cheated me and I have been hurt. It takes me a long time to be angry but I have noticed that when I am angry, I get things done.  Recently a second hand shop sold me a radio which was defective. I took it back three times and each time the shopkeeper said that it would work after I tuned in at home.  This has turned out to be false.  The man also spoke to me in a patronising way.  So last week, I got really angry- angry at both the man and at myself.  But keeping anger bottled up is also negative, so I used that energy to research and get myself a nice radio. I needed to respect myself.  No more going back to that shop and I am now back to my world of tranquility again.  But I realised that it is good to get angry (but not destructively) once in awhile and get things done!

filling the world with likes

I am sure you’ve come across ‘haters’ and trolls in your time using the Internet.  While the temptation might be to write back, using expletives and anger, there are better ways that stop the haters which I have used successfully-

  1. First, try explaining or asking the hater what they mean?  That usually stops them because they don’t want to!
  2. Use humour, without being sarcastic or bitter, to turn their comment into something funny!
  3. ‘Like’ their comment.  This gets them really puzzled and they stop straightaway. I once had someone getting really angry and argumentative and then stooping to make fun of my name as well.  So I ‘liked’ their comment and they stopped.
  4. Ignore them completely and they stop as well!  There are some fights you can’t win.  Trolls love to have a battle- don’t give in to that.

There is too much hatred in the world already and so the best way to stop that and spread some love is by having a laugh and using ‘likes’.  I don’t think I will be using the Facebook ‘Dislike’ button because of this reason.

Our world

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Does anyone remember that Germany won the World cup only last week?  Our joy and excitement about the games have been swept aside by the terrible events of this week- the conflict in the Middle-east and the Malaysia Airlines plane shot down over Ukraine.

These flip flops were reduced from £12 to £3 after England crashed out of the football games.  The high hopes of England fans were dashed and people were angry.  In Argentina, fans looted and smashed parts of Buenos Aires, when it lost to Germany in the finals.  Why does losing a game have to end in violence and anger?

I have been thinking a lot about violence, loss and desperation as I watch the news- changing from euphoria to sadness.  More so, as I saw the souvenir t-shirt of a nameless Dutch football fan, lying in a field in Ukraine.  More so, as I watched smoke rising from Gaza and each side defiantly saying that they will not stop.  More so, as I watched a documentary, ‘A world not ours’ which is filmed in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon and follows the World cup seasons from the year 2000 to 2010.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2233762/

Is this world really not ours?  Why are we destroying it? Why are we destroying nature and human being alike with impunity and inhumanity?  Then it struck me that it doesn’t have to be this way.  We don’t have to let the negativity get us down. From today, I promise to be happy and to give joy to all who I meet.

Let us reclaim our world again- with love, humanity and respect. This world is ours.  Hatred does not help.  As Nichiren, the Buddhist Japanese monk who lived in turbulent times in the 13th century said, “I, Nichiren, am hated by the people of Japan.  I grant that the government has acted quite without reason, but even before I encountered my difficulties, I foresaw that troubles of this kind would occur, and I resolved that, whatever might happen to me in the future, I must not bear any hatred toward others. This determination has perhaps acted as a prayer, for I have been able to come safely through any number of trials.”

10 things to give up

This is not my writing but I wanted to share it with you because I love it. It is from Tamara Star, whose post I read in Huffington Post and have copied on to my computer screen since last year because I remind myself of these things often.  Tamara Star is a coach, healer, speaker, writer, and businesswoman.

I hope you like it and benefit from it as much as I did- Thank you, Tamara!

1. Give up caring what other people think of you. I know it seems counter intuitive as we humans are primal pack animals that don’t want to be cast from the village, but spending time worrying what others think, is a waste of energy. You’ll never please everyone and it’s none of your business what others think of you.

2. Give up trying to please everyone. Unless you’re living life to the beat of your own drum, your tribe won’t be able to find you. Be the best version of you you can be, and you’ll naturally attract in the people that are supposed to surround you.

3. Give up participating in gossip. 100 percent of the time, those sharing gossip with you will gossip about you. Believing gossip is like gambling everything on a horse sight unseen. It’s naive.

4. Quit worrying. Where thoughts go, energy flows. Worry is investing time and energy in something you don’t want to have happen. Learn to let go and trust.

5. Let go of insecurity. When we take ourselves too seriously, we think everyone else does too. There is one version of you on the planet. Be it, own it and quit worrying about it. No one really cares or watches you that closely.

6. Stop taking everything personally. Truth is, most people are too consumed with their own life to really consider what you’re doing. As my first boss said so well: “The world doesn’t revolve around you. Most people’s reactions have nothing to do with you, so let it go.”

7. Give up the past. We’ve all been hurt, we all had parents that made mistakes and we’ve all been through hell. You didn’t listen to your parents when you were younger, so why are you still listening to their voices in your head now? Every experience in life has taught you something or made you stronger.

8. Give up spending money on what you don’t need in effort to buy happiness. Living simply allows the space for life to flow. We complicate our lives by spending too much money and filling our home with “things.” Less is truly more.

9. Give up anger. Anger burns a hole in the hand of the person still holding on to it. Move it out once and for all.

10. Give up control. Control is an illusion. We live in an out of control world. Learn to embrace the new and welcome change; otherwise you’ll grow old through your own rigidity. Learn to let go.

 

Speaking lightly

‘The voice does the Buddha’s work’.

Our soul is manifested through the words we speak.  We may be nervous, excited, happy or sad- our emotions cannot be hidden when we speak.  Despite different cultures and languages, we share the universality of human tones – we can identify grief, passion, anger or any other emotion spoken in any language.  I have travelled to 36 countries and  although I do not speak so many languages, I have always been able to tell the emotion behind the words.  Our voices can be used to admonish or to encourage.  Mostly it is the encouraging, warm tones of our voice that does the creative and good work.  Sometimes we are so keen to get our point across that we lose the listener’s heart.

Like emails, words cannot be taken back.  I have heard people lie because they have been embarrassed by what theyhave said in a fit and then do not want to acknowledge those words later.  Words can hurt and stay in another’s psyche long after the speaker has stopped saying them or disowned them.  Through being hurt, I have learnt myself to be soft with words, to speak lightly.

The most powerful thing I have heard about last words came from Benjamin Zander, the British born conductor and music Director of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.  He was describing a lady’s experience of being in the Auschwitz concentration camp.  She was fifteen at the time and with her eight year old brother, on a train bound for the notorious camp.  Their parents had already been taken away separately.  In the train, the girl noticed that her brother’s shoes were missing.  She was angry at him, “You are so stupid.  Can’t you even keep your shoes?”  He did not reply, ashamed and she did not speak to him again.  She of course, meant the rebuke in a big sisterly fashion.  But those were the last words she ever said to him because she never saw him again.  When she came out of the camp alive, the only person from her family to have made it, she made a vow.  Her vow was to “never say anything that could not stand as the last thing [she] ever  said to a person”.

I thank this unknown woman for her wisdom learnt in harrowing circumstances and follow her spirit.