|Late winter woods|
John, none of us care about your gripe with Mary. We're supposed to be supporting one another on this list, so please take your argument private, you are only going to cause people to leave the group. So grow up....Don't you love that last friendly last admonition? How nice is that, as we say flatly. How helpful, for two people who are both acutely ill right now. Then another person popped in to refer to it as "high-school drama." As for me, reading it enhanced my high-summer problem of heat. Aggression rises easily in my poor stomach, which finds some of my required meds, and some human meanness, hard to digest.
I had an impulse to reply to Perennially Irritable, but took a deep breath and thought I really don't know how to help. I looked back over the threads on this subject and found others who were upset by John or Mary's quarrel, and handled their pain by aggressively telling them not to be aggressive.
So what's a Buddhist to do? In confusing times I go back to the basic commitment Pema Chodron writes about in her forthcoming book, How to Live Beautifully:
I vow to do no harm.(I highlighted that in the hope that I will get it.) The first reaction I always have when I have to bring this to mind is, Whoa. Slow. Down. Chill out. Don't say it. And especially, Don't write it on the internet.
I'd written the above yesterday. Last night, I myself got annoyed by a supercilious (judgement word) comment about me made by a Facebook acquaintance. (Yeah, friend, I don't remember how that happened.) I wrote an answer, deleted it. Wrote another, delete. One more, trying to explain that I am not the idiot she seems to think I am. Delete. Went to her page, clicked the Friend button, clicked again, fixed it so nothing she writes will come through anymore. I will not miss her.
Kind of thing I've learned in almost 15 years of practice (!!!!!) is that this hodge-podge self I am, made insane by my childhood, is hypersensitive to criticism. And meanness, even when it's not directed at me. All the King's horses and all the King's men, in the form of a succession of therapists and self-help books and practice and journaling and retreats, you name it, I've done it - these things have not changed this part of me.
What getting to know myself has done, though, is that I know how I feel. I can control my impulses. And then, I guess a form of wisdom, I accept that I am who I am. Hypersensitive.You are not a thing to be perfected by meticulous work.
Got to reading Shunryu Suzuki last night before bed, and God bless him, he was talking about how it is exactly when we are working with the weeds in our life that we are enlightened. This is our practice, to work with our weeds, not to sit on a cushion in bliss. Though he does advocate nonthinking.
So I'm okay this morning, and didn't set the internet ablaze last night.
postscript next day: One long-term group member, who was valuable and a frequent commenter, has resigned from the list over that quarrel.