The first step is to see yourself jealous, see yourself frivolous, see yourself wallowing in self-pity. You think to yourself, "Well, what would Dr. Seuss
do in this situation?" Instead of using it as ammunition against yourself, you can lighten up and realize it's the information that you need in order to keep your heart open. If everybody on the planet could experience seeing what they do with gentleness, everything would start to turn around very fast, even if we didn't get to the second difficulty.
DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT. The second difficulty is to do something different. Even if you see what you do, can you then do something different? If you're jealous, can you snap your fingers and no longer be jealous? We all know it's more difficult than that. You're sitting there and your boyfriend is sitting across the room with somebody else having a really good time, and you're getting more jealous and furious by the minute. There's a little bird on your shoulder who says, "OK, here's your big chance. You could use this to wake up.
And you say, "Forget it! He's really a creep. I want to be mad at him. He deserves my anger." Now the little bird is jumping up and down, saying, "Hey, hey, hey, hey' Don't you remember? Don't you remember?" You're saying, "I don't believe this stuff! I am right to be jealous, and he is horrible!" There you are. The little bird jumps to the other shoulder and pulls on your earlobe and says, "Come on, come on! Give yourself a break. Get to know this stuff. Drop the story line." "Forget it!" you say. Boy, are you stubborn.
That's what I find about myself. Even when we're given the methods for how to give ourselves a break, we are so stubborn. If think smoking is hard to give up, try giving up your habitual patterns. It leaves you with the same kind of queasy feeling that have when giving up any other addiction.
From Start Where You Are : A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron, Copyright 1994, Shambhala Publications.
Published by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston.
This site provides an on-line database of commentaries on the Tibetan Buddhist meditation practices of lojong (Mind Training) and tonglen.