As I was receiving a massage today (well done by Diane Heck), several thoughts came to mind.
For whatever reason, the image of the three monkeys came to mind. I should probably look back to remember what part of my body Diane was working on at the time!
The three monkeys are associated with the legend ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. There’s a fourth sometimes included, ‘do no evil,’ depicted with crossed arms.
In the Western world both the proverb and the image are often used to refer to a lack of moral responsibility on the part of people who refuse to acknowledge impropriety, looking the other way or feigning ignorance. It may also signify a code of silence in gangs, or organized crime. Leave it to the West to take something positive and place a negative connotation on it!
In the Buddhist tradition, the tenets of the proverb from which they are taken are about not dwelling on evil thoughts. And this is where my thoughts travelled, since I am associated with the New Thought ministry, Unity Worldwide Ministries.
In my classes, we have had many discussions about our thoughts and how our thoughts create our world. There are many ways to look at that, through many writers. But the bottom line is, what we think, affects us in many way, on many levels.
So what does ‘see no evil,’ ‘hear no evil,’ ‘speak no evil,’ or ‘do no evil,’ have to do with our thoughts? We are responsible for what we see, hear, say and do. Personal responsibility is one of the tenets Unity encourages. Right.
How can we stop seeing something that is right in front of us? Sometimes, we probably can’t. But what we can do is be selective of those things we do see. For instance, do we have to watch the news all the time? Do we have to gawk at an auto accident as we pass by? Do we have to perceive negativity when we see something we don’t understand?
How can we stop hearing evil? Be aware of what situations we place ourselves in. We certainly don’t need to listen to ‘talk radio’ or TV shows that promote negative information or misinformation. We can select not to participate in gossip. We can be aware of the people we choose to associate with.
‘Speak no evil’ is one of the easiest. We are in control of what we say. So, don’t say anything that’s negative. Too hard? No, not really. It takes time to first, be aware of what we see, hear, say. Then, we need to recognize what it is we are doing. Are we reacting to something? Or someone? These patterns can be eliminated. Just takes a little work.
Once we have hearing, seeing, saying under our control, what we do is easy. We control what we do, no one else does.
All this comes down to our thoughts. It is our thoughts and what we think about what we see, hear, say and eventually do, that shows the world and ourselves who we acknowledge who we truly are.
I have this bumper sticker in my home as a reminder: “Think Good Thoughts: Words become actions; Actions become habits; Habits become character; Character becomes destiny.”
It all determines what we will see, hear, say, do…THINK.
You are so right. We are bombarded with negative stimulus on a daily basis and as a result might find it difficult to be in a positive state of mind. Yes, there is plenty of conflict out there and almost impossible at times to avoid it. The sad part is that is what SELLS and gets the attention. It really comes down to how we process and react. We do need to be reminded at all times that there is so much beauty in the world. Its not a question of ignoring the negative in as much as finding a balance so the negative doesn’t overwhelm. Thanks for a great post! So much to think about.