This morning I encountered this wonderful proverb…
“Although the lamp is in his hand, the blind man cannot see his way.”
…and it got me thinking about my own practice and the way I incorporate it with the rest of the world around me.
Sometimes, I think, it’s not that the lamp isn’t in my hand, but whether or not it is lit at all times. In my line of work, I encounter many people each and every day. Those people range in all aspects, from rich to poor, black to white, blue collar to white collar— the gamut of folks I run into each day is broad to say the least.
Why is it then, that in some situations, my actions could be so different? I’ve just started to notice this, but it seems I have quite the aversion to those folks that are rich. More specifically, those that are rich and have magnificent homes here on the Cape, right on the water.
The aversion really kicks up when I see the license plates on the Mercedes and BMW’s in the driveway, and they are not from Massachusetts. The thoughts that run through my head go something like this…
“Damn wash-a-shores, I can’t even afford to buy a home where I was born and raised yet they come here for two months out of the year, if that, and act like they are entitled to everything. They drive slow as hell, are always window shopping, from their car windows. And when they meet a native Cape Codder they act like we are some sort of museum exhibit.”
I realize it is my judging mind getting in the way, but the fire of aversion not only gets stoked with each encounter, it’s like a wildfire sometimes, it engulfs my mind completely. I find myself, in those situations, maybe acting a little differently with the person(s). I may be short in conversation, and quick with a response to even a well thought out question.
Shantideva, in The Bodhicaryavatara, makes a great analogy…
Those who wish to protect their practice should zealously guard the mind. The practice cannot be protected without guarding the unsteady mind.
Untamed, mad elephants do not inflict as much harm in this world as does the unleashed elephant of the mind in the Avichi Hell and the like.
But if the elephant of the mind is completely restrained by the rope of mindfulness, then all perils vanish and complete well-being is obtained.
So, now that the summer season is coming to end here on the Cape, I find myself reflecting on my behavior this summer and it’s not the type of behavior I am to proud of. Luckily, I have until July 4th to get this mess worked out before the next tourist season begins.
* Tour-on is my word for a tourist/ moron, yeah I know….