#48 – Train without bias in all areas. It is crucial always to do this pervasively and wholeheartedly.
Pema: It is important to include everyone and everything that you meet as part of your practice. They become the means by which you cultivate compassion and wisdom.
A day filled with many tasks, including the preoccupation of a mistake I made, provided me with the opportunity to meet myself with understanding and compassion. When busyness is involved, anxiousness and stress can snowball with self-imposed deadlines to meet. As for mistakes, these can take mental energy away from being present, as I found for myself.
When I make a mistake, as I did yesterday, it is like a weed continuing to pop up and diverge my attention from the beauty of the moment. The hyper focus on what occurred, which is now in the past, attempts to bring the past into the present moment and thus cause suffering. Having compassion for others, and apologizing for the mistake is one avenue of relief but the mistake still weighs on the mind.
In our practice, it is important not only to include everyone and everything, but it is most imperative that we include ourselves. This is what I remembered as the mistake plagued me off and on. I am worthy of compassion. It was a mistake, a faulty judgment in the moment and to continue it is the second arrow.
The parable of the second arrow is a Buddhist story about how we can deal with suffering more skillfully. The Buddha once said to a student, “If a person is struck by an arrow, is it painful? If the person is struck by a second arrow, is it even more painful?”
In life, we cannot always control the first arrow. However, the second arrow is the reaction we have to the first. This reaction is optional.
By the remembrance of this parable, I was able to see how I allowed the second arrow to create more suffering. The antidote is self-compassion. In the realization, I became more at peace with myself and certainly saw this as a lesson that has brought additional wisdom.
We are always at the threshold of an opportunity to grow in our personal practice by our experiences. May I be open to all experiences as growth opportunities.
The next card for 4/19 is #6 – In postmeditation, be a child of illusion.
Pema Chödrön’s Compassion Cards – This practice is lojong (mind-training slogans) and they are powerful reminders on how to awaken our hearts. They are also found in “The Compassion Book.” You choose the cards at random, read the commentary, and then try to live by the meaning of the slogan throughout the day.