Recently there was an American family with small children who went to the pool. One of the small children saw the beautiful white fluffy long-haired cat and said right away: "That cat is too fat!"
Her story brought me to this week blog.
Tourists in the city I talk with, hotel guests and, honestly I sometimes catch myself as well, often respond out of this negative basic attitude. "She is too late", "he is too thick", "she is weird and sweats a lot", "such a swimsuit is old-fashioned", "what he/she is wearing is disgusting", and so on. We continuously add labels. Usually those labels are negative and adding them, without in fact being aware, we try to put ourselves on a ‘higher’ or ‘better’ plan or standard.
“That cat is too fat" is a personal condemnation from what you have taught yourself how things should be or should be done. From that belief you immediately reject what you see and indicate that you know better how it should be. Actually you only know different.
Why is it that we usually respond primarily out of that negative basic attitude and why do we do that?
Compare, just for fun, the serene and simple splendor of a rose in bloom, with the tension and restlessness of your life. The rose has a gift that you lack: It is perfectly content to be itself. Is has not been programmed from birth, as we have been, to be dissatisfied with itself. So it has not the slightest urge to be anything other than it is.
That is why it possesses the artless grace and absence of inner conflict that among humans is only found in (very) little children and mystics.
If that flower does not attract your attention in color and smell, then there is nothing wrong with that flower. No disturbance, let alone urge to meet your wishes.
That is why it, so to speak, absolutely does not worry about simply being him- or herself. No conflict within itself. Something that actually marks only babies, young toddlers and mystics. Not being content with yourself is literally being brought up and ... a lot of money is earned on it.
The Buddhist doctrine indicates that our reactions by our brain arises from 51 different learned or programmed basis factors (mental afflictions) or values. Only 11 of them contribute in a constructive way, a healthy response. 14 Are neutral and no less than 26 contributes to an unhealthy, poisonous and destructive response. And as far as the latter is concerned, it is not only pathogenic (sickening), degrading or negative influencing your environment. It also works negatively towards yourself.
It turns out that we have learned in our lives, as a kind of security or survival mechanism, a way to be able to continue to belong to a group, family or culture, to respond primarily from those 26 negative base values. After all, you indicate what you belong to and that you reject everything else.
Instead of responding directly from that negative response, for example, mindful communication teaches to turn that energy that you would use for your reaction into a form of nosy curiosity. "How can it be that someone else has a different opinion than me?", "How can someone else behave differently from me?", “Why do I think this cat is thick and doesn’t it belong to that specie, Etc ..
With that you do not let go of your specific opinion and that which is true for you, or you do not have to follow that other person. You open yourself to discover a greater truth, to learn. And with that you create a better connection with your environment out of interest and you get to know yourself much better.
Just like that rose you can and may remain yourself and you do not have to be disturbed by the outside world. There is nothing to be dissatisfied with.
Isn’t it blissful that there are fat cats, thin cats, gray cats and white cats, long-haired cats and short-haired cats? It makes the world colorful and choice is possible.
It does not matter to that cat, just like the rose. He laughs at it.
Gangey Gruma (Frans Captijn)