Saturday, June 2, 2012

training ourselves

the plastic brain and challenges -

We practice every time we do something.  Whatever it is we do, that action, activity, set of thoughts and feelings gets practiced a little.  As "The Brain That Changes Itself" makes clear, our brain directs our action but our action shapes our brain.  Yes, it is circular and a bit confusing, but the basic idea is that what gets practiced gets imprinted and made more basic and efficient.

Roberto De Vicenzo, the famous Argentine golfer, once won a tournament, and after receiving the check and smiling for the cameras, he went to the clubhouse and prepared to leave. Sometime later he walked alone to his car in the parking lot and was approached by a young woman. She congratulated him on his victory and then told him that her child was seriously ill and near death. De Vicenzo was touched by her story and took out a pen and endorsed his winning check for payment to the woman. "Make some good days for the baby," he said as he pressed the check into her hand. The next week he was having lunch in a country club when a PGA official came to his table. "Some of the guys in the parking lot last week told me you met a young woman there after you won the tournament." De Vicenzo nodded. "Well," said the official, "I have news for you. She's a phony. She's not married. She has no sick baby. She fleeced you, my friend." "You mean there is no baby who is dying?" asked De Vicenzo. "That's right." "That's the best news I've heard all week," said De Vicenzo.

Kornfield, Jack; Siegel, Dr. Daniel (2011-12-21). Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are (p. 56). Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.

I am not naturally equipped with De Vincenzo's generous and loving nature.  But I can practice.  When I find I have swallowed the line of a trickster, I can do what he did: recognize that the storyline was indeed gripping and really did justify my sympathy.  I can focus on the fact that the negative in the story is not actually true.  Even while still ashamed and angry, I can recognize my shame and anger and accept them as natural gifts I have, right while I am still focusing on the good news part of the revelation of the trick.

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