Thursday, January 8, 2015

OTHERS' WORDS AND THE POWER WE GIVE THEM











Pic.: Pradeep Nanda



Yes, others’ words – no matter how bad, harsh, hurting or offending we keep claiming them to be – have no power to affect us unless we give meaning to those words…

Only when we interpret what others say to us… by giving a meaning, making a story around them… yes, it is only then, that the words get their power to affect us…

They hurt us… They offend us… They frighten us… They make us angry or offensive… They make us sulk or depressed…

But, not until we give life to them!

This is one of the very, very valuable lessons we all need to learn in order to keep our mental sanity…

I have a long way to go as far as this lesson is concerned… But, I am aware of its value, its need… and, I am very, very earnest to learn it…

Just this morning, something said by someone to me sent me out of balance… I believed, that those words were unreasonable, wrong, and carried bad intention to provoke me, belittle me and even frighten me… I went through the entire gambit of feelings in my mind… anger, fear, revenge and all those stressful human-feelings… And, I could feel the inner turmoil… I could feel the loss of strength as long as I carried in my mind those negative thoughts…

Then, something happened… I replayed those words without giving any meaning to them… Just, plain words… No story around them, only words…

And, there they were… plain, hollow words… They had no teeth to bite me, no acid to burn me… no poison to destroy me…

The more I looked at those words as ‘only words’… The man who hurled them at me seemed only a caricature to me… He could not touch me, leave alone destroy!

But, then, I am a mortal being… It is not easy, always, I know…

But, one single experiment of this morning, has given me a great deal of hope, that all of us can learn to deal with nasty people and their nasty words and keep our mental sanity intact…

I am feeling, really, good about it… Very confident…

I remembered this old story, one again:


Once, when Buddha was teaching, a man showed up and started hurling abuses at the enlightened teacher. Everyone was taken aback, even angry at the man who was offending the teacher. But, the Buddha himself was not disturbed… He remained calm and composed. After the man was done with his abuses, he went away.., and the teaching continued as if nothing had happened…

At the end of the session, a curious disciple asked, “Master, that man was so abusive and offending with his words… How could you tolerate him?”

The Buddha said with his smile, “My young disciple, imagine a man offers you a gift and you refuse to accept it, who do you think that gift now belongs to?”

“The one who came with it,” answered the young disciple.

“I refused to accept the words of this abusive man,” said the enlightened one, “So, they belong to him.”


I know, I am not an enlightened soul… But, then, I do come across the enlightening moments in the thick of the turmoil, at times…

The way I came across, this morning…

When I became the Buddha for a moment!


GERALD D’CUNHA



2 comments:

Minu Anand said...

The post is very reassuring. Thanks.

Suresh Patil said...

Wonderful insights, thankyou