Are you hurting yourself more than your enemy?

The buddha by rahlducca

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your  own unguarded thoughts” -Buddha

How much time do you spend with a million things going through your head, compared to how much time you experience an inner peace or a sense of flow in the task that you are undertaking?

For most people the ratio is probably pretty scary with their minds spinning. churning over thought after thought after thought far more often than experiencing that sense of flow or complete clarity.

When we have a moment of complete clarity or experience that sense of flow whilst engaged in a task what happens to us? That sense of clarity or flow is almost inevitably interrupted by another thought… and what type of thought is it.. usually a negative one, that completely shatters that sense of peace.

That one thought then leads us on to another and another (and a sense of frustration that the flow has been interrupted… leading to more negative thoughts).

Our thoughts have the power to do us harm or do us good.

Chris Brogan sparked off a conversation that reflected this with his post expressing his frustration at unrealistic expectations by some people he interacts with.

Chris had a really valid point to make, but what was really interesting was when Chris identified in the comments his fear of being thought of as an asshole if he was not meeting other peoples expectations for access to him.

Now Chris is regarded as guru in internet land. But in reality as much as people want access to him and he values their collective opinion, how much time does any one individual spend thinking about him during the scheme of their day?

Even if we are contemplating our worst enemy how much time do we think they spend thinking about us?  In reality we probably spend far more time being concerned about what they think of us, than they expend on thinking about us, so doing more harm to ourselves than they are to us.

The key to preventing our own thoughts from doing more harm to us than those of our enemies is to watch our own thoughts. Within each of our heads there is an angry person, an ill-natured person (yes admit it we all have that even though we are trying to be good all the time), a miser and liar (yes that is that little negative voice).

In the Dhammapada there is a quote that we should all apply to each of the “people” in our own minds first, and then to the outer world, but we can only do this by guarding our thoughts………

“Conquer the angry man by love, conquer the ill-natured man by goodness, conquer the miser with generosity, conquer the liar with truth”