Posts Tagged ‘positive thinking’

Our dear teacher Reb Anderson writes about “evil” in his book, Being Upright Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts. In it he writes:

The root of all evil is misunderstanding the nature of self and other by actively ignoring the interdependence of self and other. Evil comes from turning away from the vivid world of creation, where the self can never remain separate from other beings.
To ‘practice all that is good’ means ‘to wholeheartedly live life based on freedom from the illusion of an independent self.’ It is to awaken fully to the interdependent self, and to express such a self (page 49).[1]

Begin today to free your mind of evil. If you believe that some of the thoughts and behaviors a person can have in business and in life can be evil, then learning how to free your mind of evil will help maintain an ethical stance in every situation in your life.

What do you think would happen if each time a hurtful or negative thought or action came through us and we were personally and immediately affected by it? Might we try to think before we spoke or committed the “evil” action? But unfortunately the pain we feel from these actions is usually minutes and sometimes years before we are personally affected by them.

Two of my friends Armond and Angela have a great song called “Love is a Boomerang.” The words go like this: “Love is a Boomerang-give it away and it comes right back-hear the words that set you free. So is anger so is judgment. Give it away and it comes right back”[2]. What you send out comes right back at yah! What are you sending out?

Remember we are not separate from anyone or anything on the planet. Since we live in individual bodies and think with individual brains we “feel” as though we are separate. That allows our minds to be full of evil and it is difficult to understand that we are actually all one. One mind, one body, one world in creation.

When I am cruel to you it affects me in many ways. So I might go out and spend the rest of the day thinking negative thoughts about myself, condemning myself, and demeaning myself. Or you might be the type of person who does not internalize it but takes your anger out on others, such as fostering harmful words and actions on those around you like your family, co-workers, or friends.

If people only knew at a visceral and conscious level that when one is hurt–we are all hurt. If they did then they may not say the words or act in harmful and even deadly ways. We are all capable of feeling the pain and the suffering of the victims and their families, friends, and communities.

When we can all live a life that understands “interdependence” and learns to express that interdependent self this world can be a healthier, happier, more loving place in which to live. But so long as we think that we are only hurting “the other” the world will give us plenty of opportunities to reflect on our negative thoughts and actions. Let’s begin today to live life as though love is all there is.

Let’s begin to awaken fully to the idea that we are all interdependent selves and express that in all ways and to all people, in all places, and through all things. Imagine what a wonderful world we could create!
Remember the boomerang is right around the corner!

In gassho,



[1] Anderson, R. (2001) Being Upright Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts. Rodmell Press: Berkeley, CA

[2] Follow Your Dreams, Armand & Angelina. http://www.armandandangelina.com

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Vera John-Steiner, Presidential Professor of Psycholinguists and Director of the Santa Fe Graduate Center at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque wrote in her book Notebooks of the Mind Explorations of thinking, “It is most likely that highly curious, intense, and independent children elicit an involvement, an interested response from those around them. The encouragement that they receive from caring adults is in turn an important part of the development of their sense of self, for an inner belief in one’s self is a necessary strength in the pursuit of a creative life (page 199).”

Each of us is creative in some way.  Regardless of how you feel about your “creativity” you are creative!  I am very creative in the kitchen.  I am a great cook and everyone seems to enjoy immensely the dishes I make whether they are  appetizers, a main course, or a dessert.  I can’t tell you how many times I have pulled something out of the oven and exclaimed, “Wow, that is picture perfect it looks like it could be on the cover of Good Housekeeping Magazine!”  However, do not ask me to paint a picture, mold something out of clay, or play a musical instrument because the results would be disastrous.  I tried that one time in college and what I thought was a beautiful elephant made out of clay when he saw it my husband responded with, “Honey, that’s a great looking cow you’ve made there!”  I know he thought he was just trying to please me and make me happy, but boy was I depressed! “A cow,” I said, “that’s not a cow–it’s an elephant!”

As educators, bosses, parents, friends, and family members it is our job to help find and foster the creativity in everyone we know.  Why?  Because when people do creative things it boosts their level of self-esteem, it increases the synapses in their brains, it brings them joy, peace, and a feeling of accomplishment.  Even if the elephant looks like a cow!  It makes them happy.

Artfulness and creativity are in each of us we just need to look around us, look within us, and allow ourselves to be free of self-doubt and self-criticism. Beauty is within us to express for our own pleasure and for the pleasure of others.  Whether it is a short story you create, or a poem, or a song, whether you can eat, ride, hear, or see your creation it is part of you to share with the world.  The Wright Brothers saw the beauty of the flight of the birds and took flight themselves creating the first airplane in America. They were happy!

Making people happy was one of my dear departed father’s jobs on this planet. Not only was he an award winning portrait photographer in New Jersey, but he was a man with a mission: to make people happy.   No matter where he went he felt it was his job to make a joke, send a smile, pinch the cheek of a baby, or compliment you on your dress or new suit.  His only reward was the smile on your face, the glint in your eye, or the chuckle in your voice.  That was his paycheck and he collected on it each and every day. He made people happy….you can too.

Share your artfulness and creativity wherever and whenever you can.  And who cares if the elephant looks like a cow! Not me!

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