Once on horseback and another time on foot, I’ve been fortunate to experience the wonder and wisdom of Cocora Valley in Salento, Colombia. It’s become my place of refuge this month, a place where I’ve been able to both calmly reflect and seek advice and perspective during these difficult times.
A few months ago, a monk said to me, “It’s easy to be thankful for our friends, family, good health, and positive experiences, but it’s much more difficult to be thankful for challenging situations, difficult people, and other difficult experiences. Now you’re probably wondering: why should we be thankful for these things? Well, sometimes, difficult experiences and people who make us angry or sad can show us where we might need more wisdom.”
“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.” – Paulo Coehlo
Yep, it’s that time of the year/semester when pretty much everyone I know seems to be inundated by their novel-length to-do lists.
“We always have a choice about how we react.”
I just got back from a Thanksgiving silent meditation retreat at the Bhavana Society Monastery in West Virginia. There’s still so much to process and I haven’t finished reflecting, but I did want to share this one story from a dhamma talk I heard this past weekend. It struck me as a useful and timely reminder that fighting hate with more hate or responding to unskillful thinking with more unskillful thinking doesn’t resolve much of anything.