Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

001 – Wisdom Wednesdays – Two Bricks

English: Bricks in a wall.

Image via Wikipedia

Join me every week for a new edition of Wisdom Wednesdays. I take a quote, a lecture or something that has popped up in my life and share the wisdom I gained, with you!

About a month or so ago I had found a wonderful lecture by a monk named Ajahn Brahm who is an Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia. His talks are wonderful and wise and his charm laced with humor in all of his lectures have won the minds of thousands of viewers. To view his lectures please visit the Buddhist Society of Western Australia’s YouTube.

I’m not sure of the title of the lecture (and if anyone does, please let me know!) but he spoke about how he was building a brick building and couldn’t help but notice these two bricks that were out of place. For days he was squabbling in his mind over these two damn bricks. He stated that he wished to “Tear the whole thing down and build it back up again” Of course, this was something that just could not be done. After a few days a visitor came to the building and proclaimed how beautiful it looked. Ajahn looked at the person and asked if they saw the two bricks that were out of place. The onlooker simply stated “No, but I saw the hundreds of other beautiful bricks”

Isn’t that usually how it goes with us? We tend to look at those two proverbial ‘bricks’ in our lives that we just wish we could tear down and do all over? Days, months and even years pass and we still pick at these two friggin’ bricks. We zoom in on those flaws and see them as being this horrid and ugly part of our lives, our homes, our bodies, our relationships. Everything!

What we can learn from this is to take a step back and look at all of the hundreds of other things that we have done. Those beautiful bricks that we have laid with such precision and such care. Those bricks that we should be proud of and focus on. If this is a human condition, why do we do this? Why do we just pick out the ugly?

It’s actually simple, we want to constantly improve. This is not a bad thing but, we need to learn to accept and understand when the two bricks we are looking at simply cannot be taken apart. We can accept our flaws, notice all of the beautiful things about ourselves and move on to create new buildings with new bricks.

For a simple exercise on gaining perspective on your life, please visit Exercise 2 : Learn To Love YOU!

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Exercise 1: Gain Perspective On Humanity

With the study of the history of humanity it seems that we have a gap between what it means to be human and our modern day society. For years we have seen countless wars being waged over things that just do not make sense. We began with land and have now worked our way to wars over our own minds. We began to create wars over who could think which way and what way of thinking is right. Where does this insanity end? Where should the line be drawn between what we can and cannot wage war over?

Our American society, which has now grown into a global phenomenon, has put such value on material gain and material things that we have lost sight of what it truly means to be human. Our sexual desires are now outlined by what we should and should not do during sexual intercourse. Our desire for food has been replaced by packaged and processed items and even the way that we entertain ourselves is outlined by what society deems “right”. What makes these things right? Who makes these things right?

When it comes down to it, each and every one of us is responsible for how we live our day to day lives. Whether you would like to believe we are controlled or not we have to understand that we do have choices. We have the ability to reach within ourselves and grasp what it truly means to be human.

The exercise I would like you to try is quick and easy and only requires you, a quiet spot (preferably alone), a piece of paper and a pen

1. First write all of the things that you disagree with in life. Whether it be religion, politics, the way someone does something.

2. Take a look at that list and see if you can attach any situations or persons to those disagreements.

For instance, you may write that you disagree with the Buddhist tradition and then go on to write that you disagree with it because someone has told you to. Or you may disagree with it because someone who believes in Buddhism has disagreed with you.

3. For those beliefs that you have attached to a person or situation, try and understand them. Feel the situation or person that has provided a negative backing to this belief. Take a deep breath and let go of those negative emotions. Understand that these are just words and you do not have to believe in them but feel yourself becoming accepting of the fact that these are just different beliefs. See them for what they truly are, differences of opinion.

4. For the words that you cannot connect to a specific person or thing I want you to take these into special account. I would like for you to research them and jot a few notes down. Understand these beliefs. See if you can gain perspective on them. While you also do not have to agree with them, simply disliking something because you “Just dislike it” is also not the way to go.

After this exercise understand that while there are differences throughout this world, we must keep our eyes open to everything. We must see that each and every person provides a vital role in life and that arguments over politics or religion is petty. Love one another and gain insight into humanity by accepting one another.

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