|Picture kindly provided by h.koppdelaney|
It was another Friday night where Ben the Buddhist, Aron the Atheist and Chris the Catholic were playing cards at the Red Checked Table Conscious cafe.
Aron started a conversation, 'Tell me dear sir Lama, how do I get of my negative habits and replace them with positive habits?'
Ben replied to him 'Unfortunately contemplating on avoiding negative habits only just reinforces them, just lets try a small exercise if you don't mind...right now I am going to tell you not to think about a big pink elephant in the room with a rather large pink bow tie, can you see if you can stop your mind from picturing such a ridiculous thought?'
Aron looked up at the ceiling, looked down on the floor, then burst out laughing 'its absurd, i would not even think of such an animal especially wearing a pink bow tie, yet when you tell me not to do it, it just appears...'
Ben replied 'Suppression is usually only temporary, it does not work in the long term, its sort of like cutting off the branches of the tree, but leaving the trunk and roots, eventually the branches grow back, one has to instead change the fundamental attitude'
Chris the Christian interceded curiously 'So how do we change then our attitudes then, dear sir Lama?'
Ben paused, thought...'Well, I think its about clarity personally...having clarity of the values you would like to embody, and having clarity on purpose, be it on the task at hand, be it on what you want out of life, and what you want to give back in life. Anything that is not in line with the core values or purpose is discarded '
Aron said 'Does not clarity work the other way too, like Hitler, he was very clear about his values and purpose too, don't you think!'
Ben replied 'Absolutely, values and purpose are like a sharp scalpel, it can be good or bad. It can be used to do enormous harm, and it can be used for enormous good, however harm begets harm, good begets good, suffering begets more suffering, compassion begets much more compassion'
Chris exclaims 'So how then to get rid of bad thought patterns, it does sound almost impossible?'
Ben replied 'Well if you have clarity on what is right, what is wrong, what is your purpose, action will follow automatically, here you are not forcing yourself, but you are shaping the type of person you want to be, form follows the function of your values and purpose or the lack of it...the thing with most people they try to lead with the action first that is impossible, its like the cart pulling the horse!'
'Gees I never thought of that like that before' Chris replied. 'Do you mind sharing with me how do you become clear on your values and your purpose.'
Ben replies 'Well there are many ways but its always centers on reminding ourselves constantly, you can remind yourself in many ways, but constant contemplation and reflection is always required, I like to remind myself by writing blogs, teaching Qi Gong, and helping where i can where anyone needs some help, I find it works for me'
Aron said 'Seem to make a lot of sense, its sort of like just changing the input side of the equation, without worrying about the output side of the equation, it seems it would be a lot easier to do, I am going to give it a try'
'Exactly!' said Ben with a high five to Aron. To that they continued with the regular card game on a Friday night...