Thinking Before I Speak

Recently I watched a wonderful 30 minute lecture/discussion with a Buddhist Monk - It really was fascinating.

One of the things I will never forget was his discussion on the benefit of "thinking before we speak".  I think I am right in saying that Buddhism really is about love and very much anti "anger/hatred/confrontation" and one aspect of the discussion led to a technique in ensuring you do not react in a hostile manner to any form of abuse.

This immediately hit home.  Recently I have been the victim of abuse.  A specific online "consumer website" enables private anonymous posters to say what they like about businesses - well now I have been targeted and over the past few months I have been getting angrier.... and angrier.... and angrier with these posts to the point I have been getting tied up in replying, ranting and basically humiliating myself.  On reflection, I have reviewed my posts and yep.... I do come across as one spanner short of a toolkit (is that the phrase?).

Even more recently (in the past few days) I have received a plethora of hate emails some of which have been incredibly hurtful, upsetting - to the point you find it hard to understand how they can write such stuff to another human being... all because I set up a new forum (a positive development for the community I thought!) and current subscribers all began receiving "site notifications" which they wouldn't have expected to receive - especially if they haven't used the forum for the past 7 years!!!!!!!  (OK - In hindsight I wish I had the technical knowledge to have avoided this!!)

But the bottom line is - it was an error of judgement - no more - no less.  Did that warrant the abuse I received?  No doubt I will be branded by many as a "spammer" but ultimately I know it was as I say - an error of judgement by a technically illiterate guitarist.

Soooo..... where am I going with all this?  Back to the buddhist!

He said "Wouldn't it be nice if you had a time machine.  A time machine that could take you to the future for you to witness the events that unfold following your actions.  You could view them and decide whether indeed your actions were for the better.  If not, you could turn back time and do the right thing".

But as he quite rightly and fairly obviously pointed out - we don't have a time machine.  In fact, we only have current time and split seconds at that - to decide on our action (or reaction) and whether it will be for better or for worse.  Sometimes, without the time machine we won't make the right decision.

It is SO difficult for me personally to be so wise in the face of abuse but I will remember the monks wise words. 

Nobody can make you angry.  Only YOU can make yourself angry by reacting "possibly" unwisely in the face of abuse.  Everyone has a choice in life - we can all get angry or we can try and accept we are all different and people make mistakes.  We cannot all be perfect all the time.  We will make the wrong decisions and there will probably always be someone there to witness it - to remind you and at worst to abuse you!  The most powerful response I believe is acceptance of their actions.  Once you have accepted their action - no reaction is required.

You just move on to the next thought....  Hmmm... well I will give it a go anyway.


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