Sometimes my mind spins itself into a frenzy of negative thinking. It usually happens at night, when my body feels tired and the outside world is full of terrors. My mind transforms me into a werewolf. I go down this terrifying path and eventually fall asleep in a heap of fearful trembling. The next morning I awaken without fur or fangs. I wonder what the hell happened and how I can escape my mind when it gets like this.
This happened to me last night. I was angryabout something and then I went off to cool down. At some point I remembered to ask myself a question about how I wanted to proceed. I asked myself something like: “am I pursuing kindness or stress?” It didn’t work. I was up until late ruminating on the problems in my life I want to fix and one thought led to another.
Now that the sun is up again I’m reminded by Sakyong Mipham’s book, The Shambhala Principle, to keep things simple. We don’t need to solve all of our problems at once; that’s silly. “As each point is understood, the overall structure of complication begins to weaken.” We need to prioritize. Instead of looking at the big tangled knot of problems, we could focus on one knot and pull on it from all angles. We could deeply examine our loneliness or why we feel so hurt. That could unlock other insights. If nothing else, we courageously sit eye to eye with the werewolf and realize he is actually just a sad little pug that wants our soft touch.
We can apply the same simplicity principle to our response. At this point in my life I am applying love and compassion as a guiding principle in my actions. As long as I treat myself and others with love and compassion, my problems might untangle themselves little by little.
Sakyong Mipham says wisdom is interconnected, so applying one piece of wisdom opens you up to others. By practicing compassionate words, thoughts and actions, I may gain insights into generosity and patience. Let’s see if it works!