I’ve been making a practice of reciting the 8 Verses of Thought Transformation, something the Dalai Lama does also. (And look how he’s turned out, haha) Usually, I say them in my head before getting out of bed in the morning, or right after my early meditation. It took me a while to memorize them, & now that I have, I get a glimmer of how clear my mind is by the measure of ease with which I can fully attend to the recitation. As with all things, I can sort of gauge my mindfulness at a moment, by such glimmers. Sometimes, while reciting the Verses, I have to restart & restart. Sometimes, I have to look them up in my journal just to be sure I’m not mangling them! In any case, they are “working”. That is, these 8 Verses are proving to be a jim dandy MindfulnessTool —>> my thinking is slowly changing. My thoughts are transforming.
One of the Verses in particular, the third, has roundly caught my attention:
Vigilant, the moment a delusion enters my mind, endangering myself & others, I shall confront & avert it without delay.
At first, I thought: “Ha! I don’t have any delusions.” (Turns out, that was delusion #1, haha) Then, “Well, OK. But …. I don’t have any major delusions.” (#2) After a while, they began tumbling in (#3 – #some million). And, then, somewhere in the #bazillions, I realized this:
Such a thought, killing oneself, is a delusion because it presents itself as a rational answer to overwhelming life problems. The reality is that no trouble, however irritating, or recurring, or difficult, is truly overwhelming: I’m not literally curled up in a fetal position in the corner, so I’m not actually rendered unable to cope. (Though, to be honest, metaphorically I sometimes feel that way:) And a suicide certainly poses no solution to anything; it actually only cuts off all possiBILity of finding a solution. Never mind all the attendant delusions that follow from it: **no one will miss me (#bazillion 1A – I have family, friends, etc), **the world is better off without me (#bazillion 1B — who could possibly know??), **the suffering I cause will cease (#bazillion 1C & D — my daughter would be devastated & someone would have to find the mess I made!), **it’s the best solution for all (#bazillion 1E - #infinity — how can the effects of one human, reverberating throughout All of Time Yet To Come, be determined?!?).
No, no, that idea, killing myself, besides being self-centered & self-indulgent, isn’t really what I want. And this is how I know that, for sure:
As I was meditating this morning, one of the thoughts that kept appearing as I labored to still & center my mind, was of Ending It All. I even caught myself well into a little ‘fantasy’ of taking the 38 from the closet shelf, going out into the woods (so there’s no tainting of the house) & shooting myself. As I pictured myself walking toward the trees, I realized I was looking for some kind of miraculous intervention to take place, something that would indicate I’d pushed the Universe to the brink, & it would cave in to my demand: I’d be happy. Catching myself at this point, & yanking my obstreporous mind back to the breath, I could feel — carried aloft on bubbles of laughter — my love for being alive, in this life. In this life, no matter its sorrows, or incorrigible troubles, no matter my failings, faults or flaws. In this life, whether I’m “happy” or not. In this life, where all possibilities reside.
I have no delusion that such thoughts as these will never come back (#infinity 1A 8q). But, thoroughly vigilant as I am becoming, this particular delusion, carried aloft on those rising bubbles of laughter, will be confronted & diverted without delay.