You Are Wiser Then You Think

So often, I hear people putting themselves down for their level of education, their intelligence, or their wisdom. The truth is that each of is much wiser then we give ourselves credit for. One of the questions I ask my students every semester is “how do you know what you know?” They struggle with that question all semester, usually thinking about this question in terms of how do they know what they know in terms of their personality, their likes, dislikes, values, etc. How do they know what they know about world, national, and local news? How do they know what they know about their families? Given the biases in the reporting of the news, textbooks, the media, and just about any other source of information in the world, how do we know what we know?
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Putting the Emotional Brakes On.

Have you have ever had an experience where someone says something mean to you or something negative happens to you and then something in you gets stressed and emotionally you get worked up? The Tibetans call this feeling shenpa. While it is literally translated as the word “attachment,” that does not capture essence of this feeling of the effect that it has on us. Shenpa is this area deep inside us that gets triggered and irritated by the words and actions of others. When someone says or does something that touches your shenpa, it hooks you, draws you in, and starts this emotional spiral. Before we know it, we can find ourselves blaming ourselves, blaming them, getting angry with them or putting ourselves down.
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Breathe

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog called No More Poison! Here I wrote about the need for us to refuse to internalize any message from others that is not of love or to present a message to others that is not of love. When we do this, we are eating or serving emotional, mental, and spiritual poison to others. I have been thinking a lot about the effect of the global poison of fear, which presents itself in so many different ways in our world. One of the ways this poison presents itself amongst our youth is through bullying and hatred. The news has been filled lately with stories of at least ten young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth who had ingested so much poison from their peers and their society that they were no longer able to see hope or joy in life.
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