The following is something that I shared in 2008 with a group of friends who came to my home to meditate on Sunday mornings. They had all wished to be included in regular emails that I sent out, emails in which I spoke words that connected with that open-hearted place we all share. A personal incident, recorded below, also precipitated my decision to send the following post to them. Very quickly I received responses from many of them; the post had resonated strongly. So once again, from the heart, are the words I wrote so long ago:
This morning I got caught up in anger. And of course, because I habitually watch my mind and its antics, I saw what I was doing. I even saw myself paying lip service to “I’d better not talk right now; I don’t want to say anything from anger.” Then, a moment later, continue to speak from that negative angry place. My ego was right in there saying: “Screw the Buddhist way. To hell with the tools. I want to be angry. And I want to let this person know that I am really ticked.”
So…why am I telling you all this? Well, I recently came across the following passage that a friend had sent to me a while ago and that I, in turn, had emailed out to others. I had already been thinking of sending it out to you and then New Year’s Eve found myself talking to a friend. He had brought it up as something that had stood out for him; he had rather liked it. I realized instantly that he was not the only one who had let me know that the passage had struck a chord for them.
And so this morning, here I was, totally caught up in that angry place (And of course telling myself that well, my day had been ruined and of course blaming the other person for it; I certainly had nothing to do with how I was feeling.), when I sat down to my computer to write. Then something unexpected happened. As I reread the passage something in me shifted. I could feel the trappings of my ego kind of just fall away and a little bit of clarity seemed to shine through and suddenly I was at peace. My ego had lost its grip. My anger was gone.
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on
inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is
evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt,
resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is
joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy,
generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which
wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
And so this morning, what had I done? I fed the wolf of negativity. And how had that made me feel? Pretty darned crappy (not to mention the other person to whom my angry outburst had been directed). Interesting how the mind works…