"Kindness and compassion are part of that pureness, too. When a frog has a pure mind...one that is still, free of judgment, and thus filled compassion for others, he will find that his joy is never-ending. In fact, when the mind is compassionate even the worst frog. my son, will not cause a reaction." "Whoa, there! Back up the lily pad!" I exclaimed, "How can that be, teacher? Some frogs are very scary...dangerous, too!!" "That's true, Little One, but a compassionate mind is so accommodating that it makes us large-hearted; we know that everyone and everything has its place. Nothing and no one can cause a reaction of rejected." I wasn't sure that I bought into that, so I asked my wise friend another question, "Dharma, I don't understand how that is possible. There are very bad frogs in the world. Bad humans, too. Don't we need to reject them...to stop them?" "Yes, Irwin, there are lots of bad frogs and bad humans in the world today. But this is not unique to our time. There have always been those who want to hurt others, to force their values and beliefs on to us, but when the mind is available, you become open. You can see the goodness that is buried somewhere deep in everyone. Sympathy or compassion comes by recognizing that every person is good by nature, and it is because of ignorance and its effects that these distortions are there in his personality. There's an old saying that goes. 'You can kill more flies with honey than with vinegar' but it's also true for frogs and humans, too." I was beginning to see where he was going with this. To the extent that each of us can become sensitive to that fact, we will begin experiencing joy everywhere.
The joy formula was simple: The more still and compassionate we can make our minds, the more joy we will experience. But how to do this? Fear and distrust of others that aren't like us are deeply embedded in our brains and hearts. But, as always, Dharma had the answer. " "The pure mind must extend beyond others and include things as well. Right now, you might have only a few things that please you. Your family and friends, your favorite foods, your preferred music. That is your condition right now. It takes little effort to reject things, Irwin. Rejecting things we don't like or understand is easy. But the more our dislikes, and even our likes go away the less effort we have to exert trying to like things. But with practice, a day will come when no effort will be required to please you. You will just be happy with everything! Humans, especially, but we frogs as well, believe that everything should be here to please us. But that thinking, Irwin, is false. Our current relationship with everything is utilitarian...very selfish. We have conditional love for everything else. But as our mind becomes less demanding and less needy, then the conditions we impose upon others also become less. And ideally, a day should come when we impose no conditions upon anybody. No one is perfect, Tadpole. And learning to accept others as they are will go along way toward making the world a more peaceful and joyful place for everyone."
I liked the sound of that! Dharma reminded me, too, that very few frogs (and very few humans) ever attain a completely pure mind. The object isn't perfection, he said. The goal is to try; to become the best version of ourselves that we can be. And the more we try to be compassionate, the more we try to free ourselves from judgment, the more joy we will experience. It's not a fleeting joy but, rather, a joy that will follow us just like a shadow that never leaves...whether the "sun" is shining, or it not.
My assignment for the week was to try being more tolerant and accepting of my own small dislikes; food and music, for instance. Learning to accept not just the things we like, but the things that are available to us in the here and now is the first step in becoming open and accepting of those who are not like us. Dare I say those that may even frighten us. It's a difficult lesson, but one that I am eager to learn. And there's no time like the present to begin.