Once upon a time, Buddha, with his monk disciples, stopped by a village. His intentions were to deliver sermons and spread the message of righteousness and liberation. Some of the villagers however did not receive him well. They called him an atheist, used abusive language and asked him to leave the village. Buddha, however, remained quiet and peaceful as ever. He did not respond to any of the verbal abuse. His face expression did not change.
His disciples could not bear their master being abused, they could not see him treated that way. They felt bad and hurt. Taking cue from their master, they chose to stay quiet however.
The disgruntled villagers left after a while. Peace ensued. Only Buddha and his disciples were left there.
“O Venerable One!” Shariputra, his close disciple said to Buddha, “how come you could stay so calm? How come it did not bother you?”
Buddha’s eyes half closed and his elusive smile remained unchanged for a good few minutes. After which he spoke the following words:
“If someone offers you a gift and you refuse to take it, to whom will it belong, Shariputra?”
“It will remain with the one who offered it, Master,” Shariputra replied after some thought.
“In much the same manner, my spiritual son, I refused verbal gifts of the villagers,” Buddha added, “How can I be burdened by something I do not accept? And why would I stop them if they felt good?”
Upon hearing his master, tears trickled down Shariputra’s face. He understood the profound wisdom and compassion behind the golden words of Buddha.
We don’t control what others say about us, but we always have the choice to accept, reject or ignore whatever is offered to us, verbally or materially.
If you do not accept whatever gives you grief, well then, it can never grieve you. Just before you accept or reject anything, any opinion, there is a quiet moment. It is a short one. It is the moment to exercise your choice. Much like the auction where you only have so much time before the hammer goes down. Once you consciously accept something, getting rid of it becomes harder later on.
Next time, anyone tells you what all they don’t like about you, you have the choice to reject it; they may give you a hundred reasons why your goals are too ambitious, you have the choice to ignore them; they may have a list of all the things you lack, you have the option to not buy their opinion. The choice is entirely yours, independently yours. And it is your choice alone that is going to make a direct impact on your state of mind and being.
The choices we made yesterday determine where we are today and the choices we make today will dictate where we may end up tomorrow.
Never let others’ words or gestures make you feel a certain way. It is not easy but it is possible with practice. You dictate your own rules. That requires an awareness; if you do not keep what you do not want, your inner world becomes strong, clear and clutter-free.
Go on! live just the way you wish it. Be your own owner, your own master.