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way past right/wrong

At the monastery we used to ask “Who’s your teacher today?” when someone bugged us or something pushed our buttons of reactivity. What if, so the saying went, we saw the “enemy” as our teacher?


After years of practicing I’m still surprised how long it takes me to make this shift. Again and again I find myself locked into feeling hurt and misunderstood … and waiting for others to see it my way. When I eventually remember to cast myself in the role of pupil, everything changes. The fog of isolation lifts and fresh possibilities arise.


Sounds familiar? Think back to the last time when something or someone so annoyed you that all you could do was to blame it/them for your unhappiness. More often than not fear keeps us from getting out of that box: fear of being vulnerable, of being wrong. The first step is to suspend notions of right and wrong alltogether. Not easy, but worth the risk. 


As Rumi says, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.”



One response »

  1. I have just finished reading Calvin Malone’s book, “Razor-Wire Dharma, A Buddhist Life in Prison” (Wisdom Publications). He writes about the constant change in the prison population as a chance to see each new inmate as a new teacher giving him new opportunities to practice patience.


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