Need I say it? Gossip and complaint is not good for our health. Despite this, complaints and rumor mills are having a field day. Here, in the Pacific Northwest, rumors abound regarding the suspected killer, Maurice Clemmons, who was killed hours ago, after gunning down four police in service to our community this past Sunday. On other fronts, Mike Huckabee has become a target for verbal sharp-shooters with their criticisms that he 'should have known.' Meanwhile, Tiger Woods is surrounded in Technicolor speculation and gossip mongering about his own private life after crashing his car into a tree sometime after 2 a.m.near his home. As for President Obama, he is receiving his own 'day in (complaint) court' by Republicans and Democrats following his speech at Westpoint regarding the new Afghanistan strategy for our troops.
The question is what result does criticizing leave in its wake? Since criticizing, complaining, and gossiping are anything but solution-oriented, they bring destruction, not solution. You can always tell a habitual complainer from the rest of the pack because when you ask him 'what's the solution,' he will not have an answer. So much easier to condemn than collaborate in healing the hurt that ails us.
What seduces us into these counterproductive activities with the rest of the herd? The fact is that we are most susceptible when we are "living lives of quiet desperation," as Thoreau put it so well. When we lack a compass, vitality, and purpose, it's easy to get lost. The real problem is that when we do not know where we are going, either as a people, or as individuals, it is much safer to get into commentary about other people's lives and maps than it is to face the anxiety of the unknown. It fills the time.
What's another way? By way of contrast, the lives of our greatest teachers take quite a different direction. Take the Dalai Lama, for example. Exiled from his native Tibet, he moves forward into what is foreign. Walking such an edge leaves little room for meddling in other people's lives. Such a choice leaves neither room for past attachments and comforts, nor courting the anxiety of the not-yet-here. Instead, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama started where he was. He attended the moment. He practiced locating the Stillness in the moment, and has always made his contribution from the discipline of being fully Present, finding compassion from this place. In his words this summer:
...the mind always looks out critically and deals with external events, but rarely bothers about itself. Therefore, we have to give it new instructions. Up to now, you have dealt with what's going on outside; that's well and good, but now the time has come to explore within and find out more about the mind itself. In doing so, we also have to make an effort to restrain the way our thoughts follow memories of the past and speculations about the future. We need to find the space between such thoughts, which like the water deep in the ocean, remains clear and undisturbed even though there may be waves on the surface. This is one way to look at the mind itself; it's not easy, but I think it is worthwhile to try... -- the Dalai Lama in Be the Change
A Time for New Instruction. Today, his words remind us of treasure that's to be gained by returning focus to the inner landscape, rediscovering the Stillness beneath the ripples on the surface of our mind...even during the toughest times of accusation without the benefit of being presumed innocent, until proven guilty. The good news about difficult times like these is that whatever brouhaha is brewing in our lives, it is but another invitation to come home to what really matters in the quiet of the moment. So, if you are a Tiger Woods figure, a super-achiever who's being condemned by jury-less rumor mills, or a 'Mike Huckabee' who's found guilty of not being sufficiently telepathic to change the future, take heart. There is hope. We have choice. We can look to the outer world, hoping to score highest on its fickle applause-o-meter, or we can find what Jesus called:
"...the peace that passes all understanding..."
"...the Truth that sets you free..."
The Three Steps of New Instruction.
Join the21 Day Challenge:
For the next 21 consecutive days, do the following, and enjoy the process. This is the best preparation I know to enjoy the holidays as never before! By practicing these instructions, you will smile more, relax more, and relocate your sense of humor. Your family will like you more. You will enjoy those you know, and do not know even more. New creative inspiration will come your way. You will notice new streams of abundance moving in your direction. Ah, but first, the practice:
1. Every morning and before you go to sleep: Lay down your burden. Breathe in and breathe out, until you find the deepest center of relaxation beneath the ripple of your thoughts, the worries of the day, and the concerns of what someone else might think. As Terry Cole-Whitacre said it years ago: "What you think of me is none of my business!" What does matter is letting all this go, until you arrive at the destination called 'gratitude.' Thank whatever is beyond your ego for another day of life, another opportunity to participate in Creation.
2. Contract with a partner of your choice to participate in this 21 day challenge, someone you'd enjoy checking in with for two minutes a day
so that you can share your report of what you are noticing. This is a crucial step.
3. Over the next 21 days DO NOT Complain, Gossip, Criticize. You
Will be living in a Complaint-free zone. Keep watch. Self-interrupt
When you go forget. Forgive yourself, and start over, this day becoming
Day #1. If you stay true to the process, and forgive yourself as needed,
Be assured the results will warrant your practice. Have a ball.
On those days which are more challenging, cleave to the words of the poet Mary Oliver:
You don't have to be good.
You don't need to crawl on your knees through the desert
for a hundred miles repenting.
All you need to do is love the small furry creature inside yourself...
Let me know how it goes. Let us know what helps you return to a practice of self-forgiveness. What helps you return to your own Center? What have you found helpful when someone else is gossiping/complaining/criticizing/draining life energy? I'm listening! Thanks for passing this along to your crew, your contacts, and your buddies. The more the merrier. Godspeed, Cara