What’s not wrong?

Ben, Bodhi and Eleanor napping

Ben, Bodhi and Eleanor napping

A few days ago, something happened to a family member several hours away, and I found myself suspending previously made plans and making new ones (in consultation with other people). I also became acutely aware of  a lot of intense emotion and action around me. I closed my eyes and kept repeating, “This is for me. This is for everyone involved. Only good can come from this”, and while that thought was very soothing at the moment, as I drove home, I felt drained and uneasy.

I called a friend to try to get perspective, but our call was interrupted by another call and a person wanting an immediate answer, so I needed to hang up.

A minute later, a text came to me from this same friend saying, “You always say that everyone is a mirror…..”.  As I read this, I saw the truth: I was the one running around (inside) trying to figure out what to do next. I was feeling guilty about not being more available. I was afraid that I was being judged by my family members, so I was trying to prove to them that I was good enough.

My mind was working over-time trying to vindicate me of a crime that I had charged myself with, and was now feeling the need to defend.

As soon as I saw this, all of the tension in my mind and body melted away. I took my focus off everyone else and was finally able to see that they were indeed just mirrors. What a relief to see this. My thoughts are the only ones that I ever have to pay attention to. My actions are the only ones that I need to know are the right ones. My mind is my friend or my enemy. My mind is the thing that puts me in heaven or hell. What a relief to know this. All is well. Everything that happens this day is right…if my thoughts about it are right.

We often ask, ‘What’s wrong?’ Doing so, we invite painful seeds of sorrow to come up and manifest. We feel suffering, anger and depression, and produce more such seeds. We would be much happier if we tried to stay in touch with the healthy, joyful seeds inside of us and around us. We should learn to ask, ‘What’s not wrong?’ and be in touch with that.” pp 77 from, Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

7 thoughts on “What’s not wrong?

  1. I am having such deja vu. I can feel your emotion as you sat in your car heading toward/into the ‘something that happened’. At times it felt like I was driving into a storm. I remember you telling me that God had a plan for each and every one of us and that I could not be the ‘buffer’ between God and the plan for my family member. And that all that was happening, whether I agreed with it, understood it, liked it, was happening exactly how it was supposed to happen. And when I feel all of the emotions beginnng to swirl I try to remind myself to just show up for this moment, and let my heart lead the way. And to smile past the judgement I begin to fictionalize in my mind. And for me, I know that the moment I feel stressed, I have a tendency to ‘regress’ into a less awake state and I have to stop and dig a bit deeper…right back into my heart…Sending love and heartfelt thoughts to you and your family…I love the “What’s not wrong?” approach…allows us to look for and to see all of the good going on!

  2. A timely post, as I deal with family matters out of anyone’s control. Thank you as always Mary, for your insight and light. Love the napping kitty picture!

  3. What’s not wrong. . . So much to think about in 3 short words. What a different and empowering perspective. Don’t we often hear people start a sentence with “the problem is” and then go on and on – maybe one could also ask, what’s not the problem? Work with the good that is, sort of like choosing the good ingredients, and they are always available, and letting the rest go. Sending love to you Mary, for whatever you may be facing with your family. You have a whole flock of love around you – hear us flapping our wings?

  4. Another beautiful post, and timely, as usual. I need to remind myself of “what’s not wrong” more often. The picture of your cats goes with this idea perfectly – all is right in their world! Warm thoughts are being sent your way.

  5. Perfect message for me today. I don’t thank you enough but I try to absorb all your examples and use them in my life. As always, stellar CAT pictures. Who can be concerned with gov’t shutdowns, etc. when we have all God’s creatures in our lives?

  6. I think of that one question: “what is wrong” and how it ended a relationship that had been eroding for many years in my family and that question was the final excuse on the other person’s part to act upon what she’d been trying to do for twenty or more years. I didn’t understand ‘what was wrong’ and I asked, wanting to understand. How I wish I’d had the ability to handle it differently but I didn’t. Everyone’s comments are meaningful and as helpful as the original posting.
    Sandy P in Canada

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