CT meditates: a comedy (19). The second arrow


It takes my son to teach me about important concepts from the Book of Joy.

An ordinary person feels two pains, two arrows, with any tragedy. Just as if they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, were to shoot him with another one, so that he feels the pain of two arrows.

It seems that the Dalai Lama was suggesting that by shifting our perspective to a broader, more compassionate one, we can avoid the worry and suffering that is the second arrow.

I was struggling one evening a few months ago, to explain how our minds construct meaning around any event, and that we can control our own narrative. By being present, and being grateful, and being compassionate, sometimes we can avoid making things worse in our own minds. To which my very wise child replied: “Oh, you mean the second arrow. From the Book of Joy.”

And, after spending the next couple weeks reading the Book of Joy, I concluded:

Thanks, yes, that is what I meant.

Remember: those coming on the journey: 3 minutes of meditation every day! I’m holding both of us accountable to this important habit!

CMIO’s take: wisdom comes from many directions.

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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