just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

What Seeds of Thought and Emotion Do You Water?

Published on 06/11/15
by randy

The famous Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, often speaks of the storehouse we each have that’s filled with positive and negative thought and emotion. We don’t control how they bubble up through our life experience, but we do control how we water these, attach to them and grow them. Do we water the seeds of anger, insufficiency, jealousy, greed and separation? Do we water the seeds of joy, compassion, forgiveness, love? As we witness our actions, thoughts and emotions, can we further develop awareness to the effects they have? Can we better see them as an examination of the ‘wake of our life’.

We currently know of no one who’s escaped the truth of aging, sickness, releasing the physical body, or escaped the day we say goodbye to all our friends, family and stuff. We try to deny these truths and we must have tremendous courage to not grow depressed when faced with the pain that comes from our transitory nature. Yet, something does remain. The wake of our life actions, thoughts and emotions. Some have called this karma. In physics we can see how energy disperses with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Yet, in reality, when everything is connected, nothing disappears. Spiritual and physical law says we can’t be separate. We’re not an island. What we do, think and feel affects everything. The seeds we water do carry a result that lives on past residing within these bodies. It’s why we must be so careful to not harm ourselves, other humans, all beings and all things. This is real love and compassion, watering the seeds of our belongingness. Some have said our greatest life work is to forever expand our ‘circles of belonging’.

The other day I was paddle boarding on the surface of forty degree water. At this temperature the water takes on a thick metallic reflective quality that’s much like a mirror. The lake embodied stillness and balance. The visual made it almost difficult to see what was reflection and what was supposedly real. At one point I came upon two remaining loons and I stopped paddling. I almost lost my balance as the wake of my board unexpectedly passed under. I turned to see my wake dispersing across a vast portion of the lake. In the lake’s stillness I could better see the results of my actions. This is why stilling the mind is so important. The more we settle the turbulence of our thoughts and emotions the better we see the results of our actions. This process helps us better set intention to at least cause less harm and hopefully move us to help others suffer less. Isn’t that what we’re really here for? Living in witness of the non-separated mind, isn’t it just common sense to treat others as ourselves since we deepen our awareness to the fact that we are each other. When we water the seeds of separation, the results of these thoughts end up hurting us. The illusion of the divided mind simply can’t feed our peace and joy.

I used to focus on my actions. I was critical of the press when they spoke to Jimmy Carter’s acknowledgement of lust during a Playboy Magazine interview during his presidency. He had been true to his wife, never had an affair, and was truthful when he acknowledged that sometimes he had lustful thoughts. I thought, “Who hasn’t?” Again, we can’t deny what bubbles up. Yet, when we attach to thoughts of ‘subject vs. object’, when we ‘objectify’ others for our ego’s sense of personal pleasure and gain, the results of this grow suffering. It’s why we want to carefully witness the seeds of thought, knowing they live on as well unless we dismiss them before they gain momentum.

No one escapes pain. No one escapes the suffering that comes from attaching to our pain. Yet, our experience of joy and happiness while residing in these bodies is directly proportional to our capacity to witness and let go negative seeds, and hopefully grow the positive seeds. It’s a turbulent process, much like the river flows through rapids and calm. Had I been paddle boarding in typical busy waters churned up by wind and other people it’s almost impossible to see the wake of my paddling actions. When we’re stilled in our mind we’re more sensitive to the momentum of our spiritual journey. It’s the real meaning behind the biblical phrase, “Be still and know I’m God.” Be still, find your center and no you can’t ‘not belong’, watering the seeds of positive thought, emotion and consequent action.

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