An interesting experiment is to try to say something nice to or about someone every day for a month. Try it. It makes us much more aware of what we say and why. It encourages us to change our perspective so that we notice others' good qualities. Doing so also improves our relationships tremendously.
A few years ago, I gave this as a homework assignment at a Dharma class, encouraging people to try to praise even someone they didn't like very much. The next week I asked the students how they did. One man said that the first day he had to make something up in order to speak positively to a fellow colleague. But after that, the man was so much nicer to him that it was easy to see his good qualities and speak about them!
--from Taming the Mind by Thubten Chodron, published by Snow Lion Publications
When I lived in London, Ont., on the way to the variety store, there lived a man who was a grouch. He was known as such. He always looked angry. One time he was out in the front yard, and I passed close. I smiled at him and said "hi." I never forget how his face lit up. Ever since we exchanged greetings.
I can't recall the exact quote, but Rilke said somthing to the fact that it is the task of a poet to praise.
Among the Bushmen, when they still lived free,the translation of their greeting to each other was, "I see you".
Even though I don't usually hold grudges, I haven't managed yet to give my neighbour two doors over a greeting, since he has been unjust, totally rude, and disrespectful to me, over a minor matter. He lied, and ordered me off his property. (Not his, the coops.)I do feel he owes me an apology, which I know will never come. Lately I have been telling myself that I should get over it and start greeting him again. Be wiser and bigger? Physically he is about twice or more my size.
Bobby Bacon has said: "Young men slay dragons, old men tame them."
I always liked that.
I think it is the job of the poet to praise. I suppose the quintessential example would be the Psalms.
The poet pays attention to detail, notices. This is praise, too, although it may not always seem that way, to read the words alone. The act of paying attention is the poet's gift and way of life, the act of noticing.
I praise you, Larry & Wild Thing!
Morning has broken,
like the first morning,
blackbird has spoken
like the first bird,
praise for the singing
praise for the morning
praise for the springing
fresh from the word etc.
I am praising this day. Love that sun and the blue skies. Simon and I spent a long time in Monarch Wood. Rather wobbely going on the trails, but doable. Had to risk my life, (LOL) to fetch Simon some water from the creek to drink. He won't step on ice when it crackles under him. He was thirsty and kept on looking over to that delicious liquid. So I wnet down with him put my foot on a rock for support and scooped water from a small hole in the ice in my hands, and he drank deeply. All happy. I said, "You turkey, I am heavier than you. You could have done it." But I am glad he is cautions. Wouldn't want him to risk it and fall through. In some places it is deep and how will I get him out?
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