We had a lovely Day of Mindfulness on Guemes Island. The equinox connected summer and autumn, giving us a partly sunny, partly rainy day to enjoy. We sat and walked, ate a silent lunch, took naps, heard a Dharma talk (more below…), shared our joys and challenges, and recited the 5 Mindfulness Trainings.
The Dharma talk focused on the benefits of adversarial friends. Sometimes we wish the troublesome people in our lives would disappear, but that robs of great opportunities for deepening and growth. Adversaries can be our personal Bodhisattvas because they point out our prison walls and help us see our own suffering. If we can’t see our suffering, we can’t transform it.
We looked at several ways to work with adversarial friends, including seeing them as being in a process rather than a fixed state. What would it look like if we recognized our adversary as an always-changing, always-growing being? Might we be able to let go of the labels we give them (angry, judgmental, difficult, etc) and look for the ways they are growing?
We considered the benefits of letting go of our anger and control. What would it look like to lay down our weapons and stop forcing our adversary to be someone different?
Finally, we looked for ways to make our adversaries more beautiful; to water their good seeds and focus on what’s right. We know how to confront them. What might change if we helped them be their best?