I have a bad habit of knitting my brow when I am lost in thought.
One day, a few years ago, I was sitting and watching my son playing Legos in the living room. I was gazing absently at his play, but my mind was lost in some tangled problem I was trying to unravel. He stopped and fixed me with a worried look. “What’s wrong?” I asked him. “Are you angry at me?” he asked. I was taken aback by his question, “Of course not,” I answered, “Why would I be angry at you?” “Well, you look like you’re angry at me.” He had good reason to think I might be. I was looking right in his direction with a scowl on my face. But I wasn’t really looking at him. I was looking at my problems. And I had made my problems so real, so vivid, that they made it impossible for me to see what was right before my eyes.
My thinking had clouded my vision of the moment. Here was my wonderful, bright, loving child — playing and enjoying life. But what my expression was responding to was a thought in my head. The thought became more real to me than the reality in front of my eyes. It became so real that my facial muscles were physically responding with anger.
How often do we overlook what’s right in front of us because we are preoccupied with anger, worry, resentment, or bitterness. And what’s a terrible shame is that we are surrendering that moment to our preoccupation. Our sweet moments will become bitter moments if we allow our bitter thoughts to overtake us.
We need to learn to dispel our bitter preoccupations so that we can truly savor our sweet moments so sweetness can find a home in our hearts and expand.
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