The Grapevine Art & Soul Salon
WorldVoices: Ravi Kumar, Host
A Drunken Monkey Bit by a Bee: Finding Serenity in a Chaotic World
We all have a higher nature. Some call it pure consciousness. Some call it spirit. Some call it Atman. Buddhists call it Buddha nature. If we stop to look inside ourselves, we may realize that we have a nature which is at times serene, calm, undisturbed by worldly things. This nature is here. It is in all of us, including those we consider thieves and despicable.
Most of the time we are disconnected from our higher nature. Our worldly minds, which are designed to help us survive in this world, make us run from thought to thought. I have heard the restless mind compared to a drunken monkey bitten by a bee.
I quote Krishna Prem (1898 – 1965) from The Best of Speaking Tree by Vinod Dhawan. p. 25:
We like to flatter ourselves that we are the good, and that those who oppose us are the wicked—it pleases us to think that all our misfortunes are the results of the wickedness of our oppressors and that, if they are destroyed or converted, we should be perfectly all right. This is a delusion. It is not external enemies who oppress us, but we ourselves.
This philosophy is based on the idea that anything can happen to anyone at any time and teaches us not to wish harm to anyone. That kind of wishing makes our own environment foul. For fouling our personal environment, only we are responsible. They say that if we change ourselves, the environment around us changes. The world is a reflection of us. It is within us. The outside world is a reflection of what is inside of us.
Changing our patterns of thought is the hardest thing to do. We have to remember that what we think, how we think, creates our world. The environment and the people around us will change if we change. First, we have to change.
There is another useful comparison, that we are like two birds who sat on a tree. One was calm and cool, sitting serenely on a branch, unmoving, observing the world. The second was on a lower branch hopping about restless, going from one branch to the other and very fidgety. The second bird looked at the serene bird and tried to emulate it. It was difficult, but when finally the second bird became calm, it could move up to the higher branch and join the first bird.
To follow this approach is considered by many to be beyond human capabilities. But people who may be wiser than we are have laid the possibility before us. It is up to us to contemplate the meaning and wisdom of pursuing serenity.
There is no shortage of books and scriptures full of wise sayings about the search for a calm mind. How do we bring this serenity into our lives? That is the challenge: to bring about change in our interior lives that will reflect a better world. The drunken monkeys in our minds need rescue from the stinging bees. Is this challenge worth it? I think so.
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Copyright 2016, Barbara Knott. All Rights Reserved.