“Murders and wars all begin with just one angry thought.” – The Heart of Compassion by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

From my dusty journals:  December 17, 2003

A long day of travel brought us to the lively and colorful island of Puerto Rico.

After am unexpected night-long coqui frog serenade, I ambled down to the patio for breakfast.   The discussion at the adjoining table first centered around Iraq:  how the number of casualties is nominal when compared to the number of deaths in car accidents.  The conversation then moved on to Michael Jackson:  how he looks like a freak and therefore must be guilty of something.

“Such close-mindedness and intolerance,” I thought.

A spark of argumentativeness and judgment shot up in my being.  I’m not the type to inject myself uninvited into a conversation. Instead, I was given a moment of grace, a moment of space to sit with my own heat and observe this “war-like” part of myself.

I know in my head that change and transformation can only come from acceptance of oneself and others; from feeling a link, not separation.  Yet, in less than a millisecond, I was caught up in a war with strangers.  That war might be silent and only exist within my mind.  Yet, nevertheless it constitutes a war, a seed of violence.

How much I would like to dissolve this tendency to aggression!

Extinguishing the seed of violence begins within each one of us.  Vigilance is required to catch every confrontational rising and release it on the wind.  Not a tough vigilance, but a relaxed mindful awareness.  One that naturally flows from insight into the nature of reality blended with heart-felt compassion, steeped in our commonality and interdependence.

Image:  public domain

Thank you so much for reading and sharing. If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe for free updates by email.