Buddhist Reflection: Getting In Our Own Way

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I find it amazing how observing someone else’s situation can bring clarity to your own experiences. As I mentioned in a previous blog a family emergency required me to travel back home to California for a few days. My mother is currently going through a very difficult marital situation, though in an effort not to divulge too much of her personal business on the internet I won’t provide explicit details.

Needless to say she hasn’t been handling her situation very well. My mother tends to be very reactionary. Someone makes her angry, places her in a situation she doesn’t like,  or hurts her feelings and she immediately has to “do something” about it.  A character trait that causes her to make bad situations worse. This got me thinking about people in relation to their patterns of behavior. We all fall victim to our patterns, especially when we are so caught up in what’s going on around us that we don’t pay attention to how we are reacting. I am fond of the Buddhist quote “nothing needs to happen”. I find that it ties directly into the saying “we are our own worse enemy”. Nothing is truer. I’ve had some experiences that left me questioning who I should fear most; my so-called enemies or the person in the mirror. I’ve sabotaged more of my own situations than any hater ever could have.

Reacting to a situation is our way of attempting to control the outcome. The goal is to bend things our way. Nine times out of ten the way we react not only causes a situation to go in the opposite direction of what we intend but it also makes things much worse than they were to begin with. I’ve seen this happen in my case too many times to deny it. In an attempt to avoid our worst fears we often make our worst fears come true. Like the story of Oedipus, we fall right into our own traps.

I’m finding that what works best is to simply let things be. Not only does this take a lot of insight but it requires much discipline. Who doesn’t like to have things go their way? Especially a spoiled brat such as myself. Yet as I mature out of that selfish person I’ve come to understand that “my way” isn’t always the wise way. My situations tend to be  a lot less complicated when I accept them. Allow them to be. If we don’t like something it’s quite fine to acknowledge it but do we need to take action in order to steer it in the direction we want it to go? No.

Nothing needs to happen.

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