So much of the time we have knee-jerk reactions to what happens to us. Especially when an event is particularly jolting or harsh. We hear things like “It’s natural to lash out at someone who has hurt you”, or “I couldn’t help it, I just reacted.”
What goes on inside of us as we walk through every day? That is what will determine our reactions to people and situations as they “come at us”.
Remember Reginald Denny? He was the truck driver that was pulled from his truck and nearly beaten to death during the Los Angeles riots in 1992. His skull was fractured in 91 places. It’s a most horrific story. Mr. Denny had no idea what was going on because the truck he was driving had no radio and he was unaware that he was driving right into the middle of a full-scale riot.
In 1993 after the trial of his assailants he appeared on the Phil Donahue Show to publicly forgive all of them. He hugged the mother of Henry Keith Watson, one of the men who had beaten him and told the audience that he had forgiven them. I remember how uncomfortable Henry Keith Watson looked sitting on stage with Reginald Denny.
You would think that the audience would have applauded Mr. Denny’s overture, but they didn’t. Not really. Several audience members stood up and wanted to know if the beating had addled his brain to a point that he just didn’t know what had happened.
He just kept saying that he “had” to forgive because he was a Christian, and he was charged with the duty to do so. He was soft and kind, the audience was loud and angry.
What made Reginald Denny different? It wasn’t the fact that he is a Christian. The members of the audience that chastised him said they were Christians. The difference is what goes on inside the individual.
We pay a lot of attention to our outside world and very little to our inside world…and folks, it’s the inside world that determines the outside world.
In his book “How To Meditate” Lawrence LeShan says “If our bodies were as undisciplined as our minds, we’d never make it across the street alive.”
Control your mind…control your world. That doesn’t mean everything will suddenly be rosy. It means you’ll be able to wade through life’s challenges with more grace and less stress. It also means that things will be clearer. There won’t be so much angst. Decisions come easier and you feel that you “know” what is right.
This will mitigate the knee-jerk reactions that usually make things worse and erect walls between us and our brothers and sisters on the path.
It’s up to the individual to find a path that lends itself to peace and happiness. And it does have to be sought. The outside world is loud and gross. I mean the word “gross” in terms of solidity. You can touch it with your fingers, smell it, hear it etc. So it gets all the attention. It’s the squeaky wheel.
The inside world is gentle and quiet. It waits for your attention. But unlike a flower that dies without water, the center of our being never dies. We can construct all manner of junk on and around it, but it’s still there. You can seek it out at any time. How about now?
What’s your plan, meditation, prayer, mindfulness? What inspires your greatness?
The outside world can wait for a few minutes a day…and it will still be there, I assure you.
There’s a grand and glorious landscape inside of you, and you know what comes next…You must cultivate it, fertilize it, and love it deeply.