Blanche Hartman

‘Until we can see for ourselves that our own actions of body, speech and mind are creating the pain, we think that someone or something outside ourselves (over which we have no control) has to change in order to put an end to the pain. When we notice that it is our own thoughts that make us want the world to change, so as to accommodate our own desires or aversions, we then have choice.
We can cling to that thought, believe it, feed it, and watch it grow from irritation to rage, or from attraction to thirsting desire. Or, in zazen, we can note the first arising of the thought, remember it can lead to severe pain, and decide to let it go by returning our attention to breath, posture, or physical sensations (which are all occurring in the present moment). In other words, we can see that we do have some control over which thoughts we feed and cling to and which ones we let go.
This is easier said than done. Many of us have some pet thoughts and attitudes, especially about “me” and the world according to “me”, and we are very reluctant to let them go. It is useful when we hear ourselves insisting on our point of view to say to ourselves, as my teacher often did, “Maybe so.” He also said, “You don’t have to invite every thought to sit down and have a cup of tea.”‘ (Seeds for a Boundless Life)

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