And we become what we think
Moment by moment thoughts arise and pass for each of us. Some we barely notice, while others catch our attention and draw us in. The ones that we barely notice are likely the most beneficial, while the ones that titillate us are often the most destructive. This is typically due to our ego and sense of self. The delusion that we should control others and know what’s best for them. It is also often a good vehicle to avoid our own unskilful behavior by focusing our attention on the behavior of others. This is clearly aversion, and benefits no one.
Compassion is nice word and an even nicer action. But if this compassion is rooted in selfish thoughts, desires and aversions, it is no longer compassion at all. If we want to help someone in need, that’s wonderful. But if wanting to help them means imbuing them with our personal desires, then we are only practicing greed. Thinking “I want what I want”, and “I know best”, or even thinking “they just need to listen to me”. These are all means of circumventing the reality that our ego is in control and not implementing wisdom and understanding. And while it’s very easy to talk about dropping the ego, in day-to-day life those moments of thought that we grab hold-of are the ones which constantly feed this hungry ghost. And unfortunately for many of us, this can seem to be a delicious and savory fodder.
Stepping back from these moments of desire and aversion, it can become easier to see the result of our stories. Like a tasty meal from a restaurant which is tainted with salmonella, the initial pleasure of partaking will soon turn into great pain and suffering once digested. And it is this way that we become what we think. By ingesting these poisons into our being, we only become sicker and sicker. We minimize the loving kindness and acceptance that we could offer ourselves and others through these daily destructive thoughts and actions. The words in our head become spoken to others. And in this way we are either cultivating goodwill or breeding negativity and ill-will.
Perhaps the next time that a juicy thought arises, you can become more aware of the disturbing emotions that are arising along with it. Seeing more clearly that these are not in fact caused by others, but by the weakness in your own practice. That your ego is talking, and is likely leading you down a destructive path. Being mindful of each bite that we take of this life, may you savor each one with complete understanding and acceptance.
Peace be with you.