A black bear prowled around our house last evening, just before sunset. It smelled the birdfeeder on a second-story deck in which we keep only a handful of seeds at a time. Fortunately, it did not climb up the 10 feet to lick up a few stray sunflower seeds.
Inside the house, my sweetie was running from door to door, locking them, and closing the garage door, which leads to the trash can where we store our birdseed. The trash can protects the seed from mice, but would be easy pickings for a bear.
Sometimes our minds are grappling with a "bear" of a problem that prowls around our mind, ravenously hungry, and looking for any excuse to justify our words or actions. The "I" wants to be right, and it will toss and turn the body for hours in the middle of the night to prove its point, over and over again.
The visit from the bear encourages me to clean up my act:
(1) don't feed the birds in the summer
(2) NO meat scraps in the compost
How do we clean up our mind?
We practice compassion for ourselves and for the "bear" of a problem.
We practice kindness toward ourselves first and toward the other person.
We notice what truth feels like: There's a relaxation that goes with truth. "Ahhh. Yes."
Chances are, the bear-of-a-problem has to repeat itself over and over, in our minds, telling us again and again and asking us to believe it time and time again. (Is that the definition of propaganda?) We only need to hear truth once to "know" it's true.
When you stand--or sit--on the side of truth, the mind relaxes and becomes like a still forest pool. As Achaan Chah says, "All kinds of wild animals will come to drink there." Even a black bear.