Resentment; Control of Speech; Responding Kindly
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2014-01-25
"Realize That God Is Love." Resentment is a barrier in spiritual life. Accept the Hindu point of view, that whatever happens to us is our karma to experience even if we are mistreated. Resentment comes from being hurt; and we need to stop hurting others with our speech which is subtle form of violence, himsa. "Speak only that which is true, kind, helpful, and necessary." We can overcome resentment by performing the flower penance. Learn to respond to others who may injure us by upgrading our responses. As the Tirukkural advises "...return kindness for injuries received." Master Course, Living with Siva, Lesson 287.
From yesterday's Living with Siva, Lesson 287.
"Realize That God Is Love.
"Siva is Love and Love is Siva. People often ask, 'How can I worship God if I can't see God?' There was a young man who had formed an intense dislike for his father because his father disciplined him strongly when he was growing up. Every time the young man thought of his father, it was through feelings of resentment and confusion. Whenever his father was around, the son avoided him, and sharp words were often exchanged. However, his father put him through college, paying all the expenses. When the young man broke his leg playing football, the father visited him in the hospital every few days and paid the medical bills. But still the young man resented his father for what had happened years ago. He could not see that his father really loved him. His inner sight, feeling and emotion were blinded by his bitterness about the past. This story illustrates how mental barriers disable us from seeing people as they really are. And if we cannot correctly see the people around us, how can we expect to see God? We are often blinded by our "ignore-ance"--our great ability to ignore.
"People who question the existence of God because they cannot see God must take the word of those who do see God. When they cannot do even this, they are obviously lost in their own delusions and confusions, unable to even see the love or accept the love of those who are closest to them. They most likely misjudge everything through their limited vision, clouded by resentments built up over the years.
"We all see people with our two eyes, and we see into people with our hearts. When our heart is pure, holding no resentment, we can then see with our third eye. Someone having problems in seeing God should begin by worshiping his mother and father as divine. He can see them with his eyes and within his mind. This sadhana will clean up the person's heart and bring his thoughts, speech and actions into line with dharma. Then one day he will see that God Siva truly is the Life within the life of everyone--of the whole universe, in fact.
"The word love describes the free-flowing interchange of spiritual energy between people, between people and their things, between people and God and the Gods. Our scriptures clearly tell us that 'Siva is love, and love is Siva.' Therefore, our free-flowing love, or bhakti, is our own Sivaness in manifestation. Expressing this love is a profoundly auspicious and beginning form of living with Siva that is complete, in and of itself."
So that's the philosophy. And then, of course, the practice that goes with it. One of them is the Flower Penance. I'll read the Flower Penance.
"Those who have been physically abused are as much in need of penance to mitigate the experience as those who abused them. Each person, child or adult, who has been beaten at any time no matter how long ago, is enjoined to put up in the shrine room a picture of the person or persons by whom they were beaten, be it a father, mother or teacher. Then every day for 31 days he or she places a flower in front of each picture and, while doing so, sincerely forgiving the person in heart and mind. If no picture is available then some symbol or possession can be substituted or even a paper with the name written on it."
So, of course, a number of Gurudeva's sishiya have done the flower penance over the years; it's not reserved just for those who have been beaten. Just an intense resentment as in the story from the daily lesson is sufficient. "Feelings of resentment and confusion" that are deep seated. It's also very good for that.
And one related principle is the, really accepting the Hindu point of view that whatever happens to us is our karma to experience even if we're mistreated. You know, it's easy to to get mad at the person who mistreats us and blame them; it's all their fault, right? But somehow we attracted it. So, it's our fault too. It was in our karma to experience what we did. Therefore, in terms of resolving a resentment, that's a very helpful perspective. Just strive to achieve.
Resentment doesn't have to be something that comes from the distant past; it can also come from the recent past. Something can have gone wrong in the last few days, in the last month and caused us to feel resentment. Same idea. Someone treated us a certain way and they shouldn't have done that. And of course, wasn't in our karma to be treated that way.
When it comes to resentment it can come from being hurt. And of course, among religious people, we don't go around hitting people but we can go around hurting people with our words. And sometimes we're not even aware that our words have hurt someone. They're more sensitive to certain statements than we realize.
The common forms of hurting others with our speech are joking, teasing, gossiping and backbiting. Lets take first joking and teasing. Some common examples.
1st example: Someone has a special privilege or position that we don't. He got to skip the work today that we did. You've really got it easy. (That's the joking.)
2nd example: Someone speaks English with a foreign accent. You repeat back his mispronunciation and laugh.
3rd example: Someone has difficulty such as in multiplication. When they are having trouble making a calculation you make fun of him. The rationale for this behavior is: I'm just joking, trying to be humorous, creating some laughter.
However, in truth, you words are himsa. You are harming another through your speech and justifying it by saying you are just joking.
As we know Gurudeva has given us a very useful guideline for seeing if our speech is appropriate. Provides us a four-fold test. "Speak only that which is true, kind, helpful and necessary. "
In terms of joking and teasing the first test to apply is: Is it helpful? In other words: Everything I say to someone else should be designed to help them do better in some way. Certainly none of our examples pass that "helpful" test.
And then in terms of a response - we talked about the flower penance. Something like that doesn't justify the flower penance. The Tirukural has an appropriate verse which is a way of responding. Which is an alternate to just resenting that it happened.
"If you return kindness for injuries received and forget both, those that harmed you will be punished by their own shame."
That's a very high-minded statement and it's designed to try and upgrade the situation, upgrade the culture of the situation. So that the party who did injure realizes there's alternate ways of handling this in the future. We don't have to just go into that form of behavior. That's what the idea of shame is. They realize they could have handled it in a more refined way.
Thank you very much. Have a great day.