I am away now to a bungalow by the sea for four weeks. I am treating myself to some solitary retreat time with two of my dogs, Holly and Nutmeg. Then I have some holiday time at Christmas and New Year with family. After the new year I have some more solitary retreat time. Then later on in January I am moving to my cottage at Samye Ling. New year, new life!
As many of you might expect I am upset about the election result (my own opinion – not that of the MA’s). I spoke to my daughter this morning and she was also upset. I expect that some of you are too, although perhaps not all.
I am taking it as an opportunity to practice compassion and equanimity. I am determined not to be lured into the indulgence of blame or anger. I am determined not to get into ‘othering’ those who have a different view from me. My intention is to be open and curious, and to understand and communicate kindly with those who have different views from me. The only way to come together as a community is through connection and communication. ‘Othering’ won’t benefit anyone.
The definition I like of equanimity is ‘a warm engagement with the world without being troubled by it’. If I allow myself to get upset and angry about the state of the world, I cause myself to suffer. The ‘others’ that I am angry with are most likely oblivious to my anger. It is like picking up a hot coal and throwing it at someone. They may get hit, but I will always be burned. Another analogy I like is – it is like eating poison and expecting the other person to get ill. If I allow myself to get overwhelmed I disempower myself – and that is no benefit to anyone.
So I have been feeling my feelings – mainly of sadness and disappointment – but I am not elaborating them by thinking and ruminating about ‘others’ or about ‘what is wrong’. Instead my intention is to put my energy into something that is of benefit to the world. I have made some proposals this morning to the team about how we might better support our members and share the benefit of practice more widely. This is where I am going to put my energy. Then I can make my corner of the world a bit better, if we all do this then there is hope.
So, recognise that you have a choice of where to put your energy. You can get into sadness, anger, recrimination or you can do something positive to make our world better. The latter will not only benefit the world, but it will also make you feel better. It’s simple common sense.
Good luck with your positive actions!