Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Reader comment on Dzogchen Ponlop's passage ...

Living With a Rebel Within

On Sep 17, 2011 Manisha wrote:

For the past few months, I have been driving to the train station as part of my daily commute to work. Each morning and evening rush hour the roads are packed with people driving from all walks of life on the shared mission of getting to their destination as quickly as possible. Sometimes this involves aggression. Yesterday morning I was in queue at a red light when a man driving a large 4x4 pick-up truck pulled up in the median lane from the opposite direction to make a turn into a plaza driveway. I was directly in front of this driveway and this man was angrily shouting and gesturing from inside his car for me to move back so that he could turn in. I looked behind me and there was not much space to reverse. The light was still red so I couldn't move ahead. I shook my head to indicate "no" to him; even though I could have reversed about 1 foot back, I did not want to yield to this bully. He was fuming inside of his car. When the light eventually turned green, he rolled down his window and yelled a profanity at me. I was not completely shocked since he was very angry but his harsh words stung me nevertheless. They kept on replaying over and over inside of my head. And as they did, I realized that I was witnessing a real-time carving of negative grooves in my mind. Negativities that would become "I am hurt", hurt that would point a finger at "that man who called me a mean name", a desire for revenge that I might unwittingly project onto somebody else in the future, and the amplification of an isolated incident into ripples of violence beyond that street. It became apparent that I needed to both prevent the deepening of this groove and create other more positive ones in its place.

The rebel within, the one who had calmly stood ground in the face of intimidation and force, was now telling me to be compassionate because he spoke those words from ignorance. He deserves to be happy just as much as every being. How do I wish him well?


An friend, who recently told me that in the past lifetimes I was her mother, father, son, daughter, brother, and that I have appeared as everything to her except as her friend, which is now manifest in this lifetime. This man has also been my mother. How would I treat my mother?


In gratitude for this man who helped me to strengthen my awareness of my mind, reinforce the need for kindness in the world, and challenged me to grow in compassion towards myself, him, and others who are suffering. He is my spiritual teacher. How can I thank my spiritual teacher?


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