This week’s slogan may seem like a repeat of last weeks but it is a little subtler. The slogan – Don’t Ponder Others – ask us to go one step further. Last week we talked about not causing further harm to another’s injured limbs. This week is about letting go of the need to pick at, complain about and judge others.
This seems like a good to time to remind us that these slogans are held within the section Disciplines of Mind Training. This is not about making you or me a better person. This is about restraint. The more we learn restraint, the more disciplined our conduct. The more disciplined we are in our conduct, the more we live a blameless life. The more blameless our lives, the happier and confident we feel. But it all starts with practicing the discipline of restraint.
One of the most insidious habitual tendencies of being human is the constant picking, obsessing and projecting of our opinions on others. This slogan says use restraint and stop that. Let people be themselves – however they show up. This is particularly important for practitioners. When we practice, our “suffering radar” is heightened. Its seems as though we are extra sensitive to pain. Understandably, we feel compelled to help others reduce their suffering by offering the wisdom of the Dhamma; wisdom that has reduced our own suffering. We push and push even though we know, at least on some level, we cannot force another to change or do what we want.
Everyone must find their way on their own. We can be supportive and offer compassion, but people must walk their own paths. Can you see a correlation between the practice of restraint and the cultivation of equanimity? Could true equanimity (not indifference) come from something as simple as refraining from picking at, obsessing over and/or projecting onto other about their lives? Until Thursday…