There is a book called Awakening the Buddha Within by Llama Surya Das that has greatly influenced my life over the past 10 years. I have read and listened to it over and over and still find new juicy bits of wisdom inside every time. Yesterday I was driving in my car listening when I heard Llama Das say that it is important that we see thorns for thorns and roses for roses. Basically, we need to see things for what they are, without our own tainted definitions clouding them up. We may wish the thorn to be different so that we could touch it, hold it, or even squeeze it, but seeing it for what it is teaches us the valuable lesson not to.
I thought to myself, when we see a thorn for a thorn, we see that it is something that is pointy and if we squeeze to hard, can cause us to bleed. In knowing this, we learn that a thorn is not something that we can squeeze or hold tightly, but rather is more safely viewed from a distance or touched upon ever so gently. Can this theory be applied to people? Are there certain individuals that we consistently experience pain around that we need to see as clearly as we see the thorns, knowing that if we get to close we might bleed? And if we do see certain people in this way, how then do we remain compassionate and loving as spiritual masters teach us and find a way to continue to hold them in our hearts? How do we love the thorn?
I present this question as it is something I am seeking to understand on my own path, in my attempt to exist from a space of love with all beings, as well as to teach my son to love even though. To love in the face of challenge, discord, and even hatred, as it is easy to love in the face of love. Where do we find the space to see a thorn for the thorn that it is, yet love it and hold it in compassion. Is it through staying at a distance, handling it gently and carefully, or possibly creating boundaries? Maybe a little bit of it all.
What I do know is that the challenge lies here, in finding the way to love the thorn, even with knowing that if you get to close you can experience pain and bleed. Maybe it’s in knowing that it is not the thorn that has the power to cause pain or blood in and of itself, rather it is us who holds that power. It is us who makes ourselves bleed by attempting to hold or squeeze to tightly. Maybe loving the thorn lies in the knowing itself, allowing you to get as close as you can even though you might get hurt because you have seen it for exactly what it is.