“Compassionate action starts with seeing yourself when you start to make yourself right and when you start to make yourself wrong. At that point you could just contemplate the fact that there is a larger alternative to either of those, a more tender, shaky kind of place where you could live.” – Pema Chodron
When I teach mindfulness groups, the participants are quick to make themselves right, and in the next breath, to make themselves so terribly wrong. The swing from self-righteousness to self-recrimination is remarkable.
The instruction to contemplate a larger alternative reminds me of a lovely poem by Rumi:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.
It may be interesting for you to check it out. What happens when you abandon your stories of right and wrong? Is it hard to let them go? And where did those stories come from, in the first place?