Wisdom Quote: Be Resourceful In inspiring Yourself
Become as resourceful in inspiring yourself to enter your own peace as you are at being neurotic and competitive in the world.
-- Sogyal Rinpoche
This quote resonates deeply with me since I'm very good at generating neurotic, self-defeating, resentful and similarly unproductive thoughts. It's not that I'm trying or wanting to produce them; they just come naturally, generally without a great deal of self-awareness. I'm neither proud nor ashamed of this fact. It simply is what it is.
One reason I like to admit this is to narrow the distance between what some people imagine therapists to be. Human frailties effect everybody, and the willingness to continually work on self-improvement is a task we all face, has no end, and always pays benefits.
Perhaps you are also skilled at disrespecting yourself or harboring resentment toward another person for a pretty lightweight reason. Abraham Lincoln once said "you can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry." By this measure many of us don't fare very well. And it's very common that many of us will engage in negative self-talk that we would never say to or about someone we love. What does that say about our conditional capacity for self-compassion?
An important word in this quote is "resourceful". This means that it is important to go well beyond trying really hard by yourself to develop a peaceful attitude. By its very definition being resourceful means seeking out resources: this may be talking with people we trust, or developing a meditation practice is a resource, or seeking out the help of a counselor or therapist to help you identify and overcome any blocks to your peaceful functioning.
To repeat, it can be a tremendous challenge to live in accordance with this quote. If it was easy, nobody would have to remind us to do it! Mohandes Gandhi said "My most formidable opponent is a man named Mohandas Gandhi. With him I seem to have very little influence." Knowing this helps me feel like I am in good company. My most tenacious of adversaries: my own ego. This is why sometimes when I'm able to notice myself engaged in "stinking thinking" I'll laugh and say out loud "get out of my head, you crazy person!"
It can take a lot of devoted practice for "enter your own peace" for increasingly longer periods of time. The way to become more gentle and compassionate toward yourself and others is the same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice!
Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT is an Atlanta individual and couples counselor and therapist. In addition to maintaining a general adult private practice he often works with people struggling with sexual deception, sexual compulsion and sexual confusion.