There is nothing like poison to spice up your life. What kind of life would it be if we didn’t have all of these problems? Imagine life, if we all felt comfortable being who we are, delighting in each others company and in nature. Imagine if we never worried what somebody else was thinking of us, because we knew that everybody loved us just as we loved them. What if we were driven by curiosity and delighted in what we didn’t understand because it provided us with a new opportunity to explore? That seems like it would be too easy. If you want that life, perhaps when you die, you should come back as a dog. Fortunately for us humans, we have been provided with poisons to make life more interesting. Our three poisons are anger, desire, and ignorance. Which do you prefer?
Anger is the least enjoyable of the three poisons. Anger is how we feel when we are scared and hurt, and wish something was different from how it is. When we are upset enough by how things are, we can call upon anger to help us scream at other people and make them feel bad as well. We can use anger against ourselves to berate ourselves for making stupid choices. When we act in anger we can excuse ourselves from any behavior. If we are angry, we are not ourselves, and so we can behave badly. Fortunately, when anger passes, we can always say sorry. Anger is a bitter poison. It hurts us, and those we love.
Desire is the most enjoyable of the poisons. Desire is what we live for. It is invigorating to see something, or somebody, that we want and to imagine how wonderful we will feel when we get it, or them. There is no limit to our desires. We can want more or less. Anything we don’t have we can want. We can want things we used to have. We can want things that we can never have. We can want not to have things that we have. Desire becomes a habit, it becomes a constant wish for things to be other than they are. As a poison though, it goes down easy.
Ignorance is a powerful poison. Ignorance is the understanding that we are separate from everything else, fending for ourselves in a hostile environment. This poison is not just wishing that things were not the way they are, or being upset about the way things are, ignorance is knowing that things are how they aren’t. It is a difficult poison to detect in our systems because it obscures itself.
Fortunately, you do not need to pick your poison. You get all three. If you are angry about having these poisons in your system and desire to be free of your ignorance, you will need to work on the antidote. As the poisons are in you, so is the antidote. Although suffering enhances life, there comes a time when it gets tiring. Minding our poisons can help us free our mind.