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“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”

Monday, March 16, 2009 by Marianne Elliott

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Gyuto Monks

That was Shakespeare. Not where I usually go for philosophy and spiritual guidance, but this time I think he is on the button. For the past few weeks I've been out of sorts. I've been irritable, cranky, negative, lacking in confidence, envious and insecure.

My writing has been going through a bit of an upheaval and I've been entertaining doubts about my ability to write this book. Suddenly other people's lives looked a lot better than mine. Other people's faces looked a lot smoother then mine. Other people's writing certainly looked a lot sharper than mine.

I began thinking myself into a deep blue funk.

Out of uncertainty and insecurity I started down a dark, dank path that I recognised from years gone by and although I knew it led to no-place-good, I felt helpless to keep myself from heading there.

But this past weekend I found myself at an amazing celebration of music and dance from all over the world and in the midst of it all there were some Tibetan monks willing to share a ceremony of healing with me and many others. All we had to do was turn up with an open mind and a willingness to imagine a different way. So I did. I knew where I was headed otherwise, and it was no-place-i-wanted-to-be.

The monk said to me:

"There is nothing wrong with you. The only thing wrong is that you think there is something wrong with you. Underneath the stinky, black goo of your negative thoughts you are as perfect as you have ever been."

And I believed him. I allowed him to wash me clean of those black thoughts and I left them behind in his bowl. I accepted the red string he tied around my wrist to remind me that the thoughts would not come back as long as I chose not to allow them back. I believed that I was capable of walking out of that tent free of the thoughts and, despite myself, it was therefore true.


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12 Responses to "“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”"

  1. gypsy alex says:

    Oh I so love that monk. That was such good advice. You are absolutely a shining star, my dearest! If anyone can write that book, that someone is definitely you. Sending you my love and admiration. xo

  2. Swirly says:

    Oh my oh my…I can’t wait to be in your presence. So much to talk about and share.
    P.S. Got you some toothpaste today! First item checked off! 🙂

  3. susanna says:

    Oh I’m glad that you chose to participate in this experience, Marianne. You made the effort for yourself to avoid that dark place and to step towards the light. Good for you!
    As I wrote to you before, I went through a sad funk this past February. March has been all about getting myself from out of that head space and into creating again. We’re ultimately responsible for taking care of ourselves, aren’t we?
    Anyhoo…keep writing your book, Marianne. I think it’s going to be fabulous!

  4. John Mullis says:

    Thanks so much for sharing that Marianne. My own spiritual journey has been stuck in the sand the last couple of weeks too, till thanks to your friend Elizabeth Gilbert, I discovered looking at life through my heart, rather than my head.
    It changed my paradigm – just like that!
    As a friend told me, ‘life’s simple – you’re born, you live and you die. The rest’s all in your head!’
    Thanks for sharing these pages from your life – I look forward to reading the full collection in due course.

  5. Imohena says:

    I wish the monks could make a trip to Goma! I need some of that reassurance right now….. but I feel like i have some of it by proxy from you. Thanks xxxxxxx

  6. Anne-Marie says:

    Kia ora Marianne. I wonder if this funk is not autumn-related? I know that I always find it harder to be cheerful in March, as beautiful as this month is in New Zealand, and often am in fact very down in spirit. Summer’s over, the cold weather is on its way – that sort of thing. The emotions you describe are pretty much exactly what I’ve been feeling recently. Any way, I am glad you got to experience Womad and learn some thing from the monks. And I hope the low spirits have gone for good! Kia kaha … Anne-Marie. PS: Buy some pretty clothes – that always works 🙂

  7. Now wash the belief, any belief, and be completely free. But it takes practice, my love. Tender, daily practice.

  8. Lubna says:

    I am so glad you found the Tibetan Monk and so happy that you are well again. Happy Writing.

  9. Di says:

    I loved this and needed it more than you can imagine. Rome always strips me naked, both the people and the place.
    Thank you!

  10. gem says:

    some time has passed since i’ve been here. today – here i am. reading your story & receiving through you the very gift you received. thank you* for reminding me.
    in light,

  11. Helen says:

    Love the monk, I need one in my pocket 🙂

  12. John Tessmer says:

    The quote from Hamlet remains true.
    You can look at the metaphorical cup of life as half full or half empty, but no matter which way you look at it, the other is true as well.
    So if you insist that it’s half full, you’re ignoring the other part of reality; if you insist that it’s half empty, that in and of itself isn’t all there is to it. Yin-yang.
    In theory and/or in practice one can “brainwash” oneself one way if one likes, and that will take one as far as it can; but then inevitably, if you’ve gone too far in one direction, it will flip. It may be in a week, in a month, in a year, in a decade, at the end of one’s life, in the next lifetime (if there is such a thing)….
    It’s hard to walk the narrow path of balance, and doing so isn’t for everybody; in fact, it’s for very few. The discipline needed to do so tends to be attainable and yet elusive; without it, the pendulum swings, and life’s roller coasters do what they do to the vast majority of human beings.
    But it’s discipline to be aware of all-encompassing reality (as much as that’s possible), not just one aspect of it…. Namaste.

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