We get angry at the people towards whom we should be grateful. We should be grateful to anyone who helps us see something about ourself that we had not seen before. This is how we become aware of our false imaginings and free from pettiness.
This is difficult, because we are quite attached to our false imaginings. They are our most treasured possessions. We think that whoever wants to take them from us is a thief. If a thief breaks into our home, we will be angry, not grateful. We’ll call the police, and then try to stop or hurt the thief. We’ll say damning things about them to others. If we bump into the thief even years later, we’ll start screaming and shaking our fist.
We should be happy when a thief enters our home. We should immediately show them where our valuables are hidden and help them load our treasures into their car. And then we should offer them something to eat. We should treat them well, and be very grateful.
Most of us want to live in homes with expensive home security systems and guard dogs. We’ll organize neighborhood watch groups and lobby for regular police patrols. We want an environment of extreme safety so our treasured possessions can’t be stolen by thieves.
We can tell when a thief is about to steal one of our false imaginings, because we will feel a burning sensation, a fire that jumps from cell to cell. This burning is the alarm of our home security system. In this precise moment of our burning, with our house on fire, we should be grateful, not angry. Do not call the police or fire department. Offer the thief a meal. Once the burning subsides, you will experience the tremendous lightness and joy of freedom from pettiness and false imaginings.
It’s true that this kind of burning hurts, but we get used to it. In fact, when we see what this burning does, we’ll go out of our way to invite thieves into our home. When we see a thief, we’ll smile and unlock the door.
Of course, all of life is a thief, if we have the courage to court the burning that frees us from pettiness. To see all of life as a thief requires an attitude of openness and gratitude for the opportunity to burn. It depends on what we want. We can, if we want, get all the way to the end of our life with each of our treasured delusions intact.
What do we want?