I recently had a really bad day. I snapped at two undeserving people… in a row… before 8am… and, this is the worst bit, while DOING yoga… and right before stomping in to do my meditation practice. By the time I sat down in front of my shrine, I was so ashamed of my behaviour that there were a thousand places I’d rather have been than sitting on that cushion.
As I hurtled full tilt down the ‘I-am-the-worst-Buddhist-to-have-ever-lived’ rabbit-hole, I remembered Drupon Rinpoche acknowledging that he is an angry person and urging us to reflect on our anger. He said that as beginners, chances are we will lose our temper and get angry at times. We are not Buddha yet and this is why we go to retreat and do practice.
As Buddhists, we are learning to be aware of our own flaws and it’s what we do about these lapses that makes the difference. Instead of blaming the other person (people in my case!) for being annoying, Buddhism encourages us to examine ourselves. We look at our words, our actions and our thoughts and monitor our own ethical and moral conduct. If we have lost mindfulness and our temper, we can apologize, confess, and repair any damage we have done.
That particular day, as I sat my angry self down in front of my shrine, I stopped berating myself and allowed a sense of the Buddhas compassion to touch me. In this gentle, friendly space, instead of drowning in guilt and shame, I was able to fully face myself, regret my angry response and decide how what to do to remedy the situation. I walked out a kinder, more balanced person than when I stomped in.
What an extraordinary reminder of the transformational power of kindness!
Till next time,