Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Catch The Stone Before It Hits The Water

By Zen_sheila @BeZensational

Catch The Stone Before It Hits The Water

We hear a lot of people say, “think big!” or “see the bigger picture”.  That’s all well and good, but we should also be thinking small very small.  Every single second of every single day we are thinking.  Our brains are firing off thoughts constantly – people learning to do meditation understand this well when they’re trying to be still and focus, and you have a bajillion thoughts running through your mind. “I’m trying to focus -what should I make for dinner? – Did I just hear the dog bark? – I wonder what’s on tv tonight – etc etc.”

This is where the art of mindfulness comes in.  Pay attention to those little moments – those seconds and nano seconds of thought.   Pay attention to the decisions you have in front of you and make them with care… because every decision reaches out far and wide and affects not only you.  Ever hear of the ripple effect?  I recall a lesson by Buddha where he asks a student throw a pebble into a pond.  The water ripples.  He then asks the student, “Where do the ripples come from?” to which the student replies, “the pebble.”  Buddha then asks the student  to put his hand into the water and stop the ripples.   The student puts his hand in the water but only creates more ripples.  “What if you had stopped the pebble from entering the water to begin with?”  Buddha smiled and continues, “The next time you are unhappy with your life, catch the stone before it hits the water. Do not spend time trying to undo what you have done. Rather change your act before you do it.”

It all goes back to being mindful over the every day simple thoughts and acts we have and do.  Taking a moment to stop and think before we shoot our mouth off or make a snap decision.  Who will be affected by this?   What is the ripple effect of this going to be?   Let’s look at a couple simple things.  Say I hear something about someone.  Before I bother to know if it’s true or not, I tell someone else.  That person tells others, and so on.  My “pebble” was to spread the rumor.  Had I stopped and thought before spreading it, had I not dropped that pebble into the water, I would not have kept that ripple effect going.  Think about something even bigger.  How about someone who steals something?  Look at all the people affected by that one act.  Say it’s a car.  The homeowner is stressed, the insurance agent is called, the police are involved, etc.  Big ripple effect.  So many lives affected with one single act.   Think of the difference of instead of acting with frustration, if we acted instead with compassion.  An elderly person is walking slowly.  You are holding the door, waiting.  You know you are already running late.  What you do in that nano second could make or break that elderly person’s day.  Do you roll your eyes and look impatient?  Or do you smile and wait?

Buddha’s lesson is that once something is in motion, you cannot stop it, so best think about it before you throw the pebble in the first place.

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