Originally Published on Proudland Blog:
Thich Nhat Hanh describes turning emotional garbage into compost, and using it as we tend to our spiritual gardens. In his book, Taming the Tiger Within we should not try to throw away or discard our anger, but rather sooth it, transform it into a positive emotion. Much as we take grass clippings, leaves, and banana peels and put them in the compost pile, instead of the land fill.
In the compost pile we take garbage, tend to it, transform it, and use it to feed a beautiful garden. In the land fill, we take garbage, put it out of sight out of mind, but it never goes away. It becomes a problem to be dealt with later on down the road. Organic matter which would become nutrients in a compost pile, when buried deep within a landfill, never decompose. They just take up space. Similarly, we can take our anger and darker emotions, and transform them into something beautiful. Or, we can ignore them and allow them to fester. We can feed and indulge them. Either way they never go away. They persist to become something worse. They persist to make us miserable.
We could take the analogy even further, with a karmic perspective. The planet will eventually recycle all the waste and toxins we release into the environment. Over the course of millions of years, plate tectonics, erosion, and cataclysmic events will recycle and reconstitute everything, bringing it all back full circle. Similarly, even the most mismanaged miserable lives, the most abusive and violent people, the most sinful and self-destructive souls will get the chance to come back and do this over and over an over again, even if for thousands of years, until they get it right.
With anger and hate we have the same choices we have with garbage and trash. On one hand, we can transform waste, recycle it, transform it into something beautiful. On the other, we can bury them, ignore them, or indulge them until they grow and accumulate to create more misery.
Eventually, maybe millions of years, both the polluted earth, and the polluted soul will be cleansed and purified. The question is, then: What do you want right now? Right now do you want a toxic, polluted planet? Right now, do you want violent and war-torn societies? Right now, do you want a life of suffering? Or, would you rather something different, NOW. You will get it eventually. But do you want it NOW?
A.J., Proudland Landscape, LLC © 2007-2010
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