Pause Before You Think, Reflect Before You Act

You’re standing waiting for the bus. With an earsplitting screech, it comes to a stop. The doors open and you acknowledge the driver, but right before you step on, you pause and realize its heading the wrong direction. You politely decline, the doors close, and the bus continues on down the road.

The bus is your thoughts. Deciding to ride is like getting caught up in thinking. Once on the bus, wherever it goes, so do you. Letting the bus pass is like seeing thoughts arise without getting involved or mixed up in the drama. The point is not to end all thought, but rather to avoid entanglement. When we become entangled we are unable to see what is wise and unwise.

The peace lies in the moment we pause and reflect. When we pause, we become still, giving us space for thoughtful reflection rather than reaction. Reaction often lacks reflection, because it leaves no room for us to weigh our options . Without reflection, we are unable to see the outcome to which our thoughts may lead and we are more likely to act carelessly.

When we act carelessly, we bring harm to the world. Harming the world brings you no benefit. So in the words of the Dalai Lama, “If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.”

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