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  • Writer's pictureIlin Shieh

The Hook: To Bite or Not to Bite

Opportunities came up this Libra full moon for me to put my money where my mouth is. Not only wishing for a safe space all around me to make mistakes and learn, but stewarding the space for others when they are also learning and growing in service to the world.

Someone dropped the ball on something, which in my mind affected the speed of getting what I want. And I admit, when my focus is on the end goal, there’s a lot of hook towards the negative story, of shame and blame, of wanting external proof to paint the picture of grim and victimhood. I saw myself grasping for the why-me outside of myself, and finding reasons of inadequacy in others.

And so I thank God for her foresight in suddenly piling Pema Chodron’s CDs on Shenpa, or the urge, the hook in Tibetan, on my table. I had the inspiration to listen to them sporadically throughout last week, and goodness it came in handy today as I saw the impulse in me to bite that hook, and bite it hard. And no, I am by no means a saint and I wanted so badly to slap on the victim identity. But this is where I am shown that practice works. In spite of not noticing my increasing attention towards anger, my own simple logic took over and started matching apples to apples, triangles to triangles, and fire to fire. And just like the memory card game, my memory started matching my current state to Pema’s talks that are fresh in my mind. And that inkling began resonating at the peripherals of my thoughts: doesn’t this kinda sound like what Pema was talking about? And as I got more curious and turned my attention toward that resonance, I also started to pull away from the hook.

There is nothing inherently wrong with being hooked and staying in anger. It happens. I just learned that truthfully I cannot be in a state of being hooked without hurting myself. Goodness I’ve tried and so far I cannot come to the experiential conclusion that biting the hook does me any good. I can’t shame and blame without pointing the fingers right back at myself. I find that when I point to others, I am also exerting so much energy in protecting myself from being shamed and blamed by that same internal defensive mechanism. And yeah, after a couple of times, something’s gotta give. As I give others a safe space to make mistakes and learn, I am also giving myself the same freedom, AND, a peace of mind.

And so it is.

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