While walking around my favorite pond this morning, I came upon a little girl and her mom feeding the geese. The little girl was probably three years old. She was having the time of her life.
But, all of a sudden two of the geese got into a squabble about one specific piece of bread, and all hell broke loose. The little girl began crying hysterically. Mom quickly picked her up and tried soothing her, but the child would have no part of it. She felt fear, and there was nothing that was going to make her feel better.
Or was there? All of a sudden, out of nowhere came a tiny dog that charged at the geese barking like a fierce, wild coyote. The geese immediately stopped squabbling and bee-lined it into the water. In that instant, the fear was gone from the girl’s face, she began laughing hysterically. Within moments, the dog had moved on and the little girl was feeding the geese and having the time of her life once again.
What did this cute little ordinary guru teach me? This little girl helped me to see clearly the answer to a question I’d been pondering. When we feel fear or any negative emotion, where is it? Is the fear in the world or exclusively in my mind? If it’s in the world, then why didn’t the little girl’s mom and I become fearfully upset? Why didn’t the geese become panicky? Why didn’t the tiny dog run away with his tale between his legs? Clearly, the fear was in the little girl’s mind, and nowhere else. And, because it was exclusively in her mind, when she decided to let go of the fear, it disappeared.
What a wonderful lesson this little, unassuming guru taught me. The next time I feel fearful or angry or anxious – I will remind myself that this negative feeling is not in the world, it’s in me. And if it’s in me, then I can do something about it to rid myself of it.
Well, this afternoon, I got to test out my new lesson. I was stuck in a traffic jam and I got angry. I asked myself, “where’s the anger? Is it in the world or is it in me?” If it’s in the world then everyone in every car around me should be angry. The guy in the lane next to me was laughing and chatting on his cell phone. Hmm. So the anger wasn’t in the world. That meant it was in me! And if it’s in me, I thought, and the little girl this morning can let her fear go, certainly I can do it with my anger.
I took a moment to accept the fact that the anger was in me exclusively, and I decide to let it go. Do you know what happened? It left. I started laughing.
Be sure to check out my latest feature in the Huffington Post: