Reading tea

FmH

Everyday my tea offers something on the piece of paper at the end of the string. I look forward to it- sometimes as advice, sometimes as encouragement and sometimes as a friendly warning. I have been going through a difficult time- following my heart has been made almost impossible. Long standing friends have accused me of being afraid, of giving in and of ‘not being in solidarity’ with them on an important campaign. However many times, I have considered this, I have felt unable to support them. I have often wondered why these friends cannot be comfortable with different opinions about the same thing or consider different solutions to the same problem.

Last night as I sat sipping my tea before bed, I finally saw that my friends’ opposition to my views have actually made me more creative. I began to understand why I felt uncomfortable with their views and uncover my own reasons for not going along with them. Previously there was just this uncomfortable feeling and now it is rationalised. It may be that I am proved wrong in the future but for now, I have to go with what I feel. It is important to give this space to those thoughts we hold dear. My problem has become my opportunity for personal growth, only by deeply considering it for a long time and staying true to my heart. When I looked for my ‘tea advice’ last night, it was- “if you can’t see God in all, then you can’t see God at all.” This is very good, I thought, and can apply to anyone. I can substitute the word ‘God’ with Buddha, Allah, creativity, problem….and it still reads well. It was perfect for me. I slept well last night. My tea brought me comfort and showed me that life’s problems can be turned into opportunities and I can learn to see the good in all that it offers. I wonder what tonight’s tea will bring.

Have a great week!

Not taking abuse

Every night I do a simple prayer and shake my hands and shoulders- I ‘throw off’ any negativity that I have encountered, and I forgive others too.  This simple act has made my sleep much deeper and my mind calmer.  Sure there are days when everything does not go smoothly- I make mistakes, my colleagues make mistakes, I lose my cool, they lose theirs, I hurt someone and someone hurts me.  That is real life- jostling away and entering the rough edges of our being, smoothing them and making us more aware of life.  We can’t avoid such interactions- physically, mentally or digitally.

Yet, if we allow abuse to sit with us all the time, in time it will deaden our souls and hurt us. Forgiving ourselves and others and going through life ‘lightly’ will help us to sharpen our creativity and make us stronger.  Travel light, travel calm and do not spend your time looking for revenge or wallowing in negativity- the law of cause and effect will take care of everything.  The abuser will suffer in some way but that is not your responsibility or your worry.  As the Buddha said to a Brahmin who asked him about abuse, “If I do not accept the abuses you hurl at me, then will these not return to you and become your own?”

the image in the mirror

“There is no one to impress, nothing to get, nowhere to rush to, nothing to miss out on. The truth is always there , plain and simple, hiding somewhere near you”. 
Elizabeth Lesser
(from  the book, ‘The Buddha Next Door’ by Zan Gaudioso and Greg Martin)

Yes, the person we need to impress and go to is- always us.  The truth is really simple too.  Once we love and respect ourselves, others love and respect us too (see the post on 11th June, “Love after Love’).  As Buddhist teacher Nichiren says, “When you bow to a mirror, the reflected image bows back”.