I watch my wee dog with her stolen bone. She’s hanging on to it tightly, probably because she doesn’t see too many bones in this vege house hold. Probably she also knows that if she lets it go she will lose it.Hanging on to things therefore can benefit you in some cases. Sadly in humans we only think we are benefiting but most probably we are not.
Sometimes we hold onto something so tightly it becomes referred to as a grudge. A grudge begins off small. Someone does something to hurt us. Probably not a stranger, most likely someone we love. In fact the more we love them the more likely they will hurt us. This ruffles us a bit so we store it in our junk trunk and get on with our life. Then maybe we have a different view of the person so the next time they do something that we don’t approve of, maybe it’s just they are late, or left the coffee cup out or said something rude, we add that to the list. So we compile our lists and watch them grow as we feed them with more misdemeanors. Then they do something really bad, and we get out the persecutor, judge and jury. We send them to our internal court of the heart, try them and the jury finds them guilty within the minute. No defense lawyer for them.
This is the grudge in the making.
Then it seems too late to turn back. It’s easier to hold onto our belief about that person. It’s easier to be right about that person. We have the list, we have the evidence, so how could we be wrong. It’s the other person who is wrong.
The Buddhists teach that you can either be right or happy. This is your choice. Some people become so skilled at grudges that by the time they are old they are physically bent down with carrying this weight of being right, but they are not happy. The wedding where they had to be separated to another table because they weren’t speaking to someone or the lifetimes of streets that they had to cross to avoid someone all adds up.
The Buddhists teach also, that to be truly free you have to let everyone into your heart.
Practice for today: Metta on the go, the practice of loving kindness. It’s easy to love small things with bones. Start with them. Then send kind thoughts out to those around you. Send your loving thoughts to neighbours and strangers. Now it gets harder! Try to hang a wreath of love around those that annoy or irritate you and finally send a prayer out to those that you dislike. See how this lightens your load for the day.