Thought for the Day

Thursday 13 August

The Perfect Way is only difficult for those
who pick and choose;
Do not like, do not dislike;
all will then be clear.
Make a hairbreadth difference,
and Heaven and Earth are set apart.

— Seng-Ts'an

Eknath Easwaran's Commentary

Happiness and sorrow, good and bad, pleasure and pain – these are the very texture of life on the superficial level. The less you are bound by these dualities, the more clearly you will be able to see the core of purity and selflessness that is the real Self in everyone, even in people who cause trouble.

My grandmother had a pungent phrase for difficult people: “a lash in the eye.” We all know from experience how an eyelash in the eye can be so irritating that we just cannot think about anything else. That is exactly how difficult people affect those around them, so naturally most of us try to avoid such people.

But this lash in the eye is an opportunity for learning the skills that matter most in life: patience, forgiveness, and freedom from likes and dislikes. It is only the spiritually mature person who can go and put his arm around someone who has given him a really difficult time, and say sincerely, “Without you, how could I ever have learned to be patient? How could I have learned to forgive?”

The Thought for the Day is today's entry from Eknath Easwaran's Words to Live By.