There is an advert at the moment which talks about 'letting your hero out.'
It made me laugh when I watched it.
I started to think about the concept of hero.
The advert was for a new computer game which recreates a war scenario.
Like many computer games it involves shooting and killing someone.
The word hero is often used for those who are prepared to 'give up' their lives for a cause.
Fair enough; but the process of giving up their life often involves taking another life.
Perhaps from a distance the other life which they are taking appears to lack the value of the heroes...is one persons life worth more than another?
A great Indian saint by the name of Shantideva made the point in one of his poems that a real hero is someone who is conquering the inner foe of negativity.
An important statement which is worth contemplating.
Firstly lets take a look at where our problems come from.
It appears as though they come from outside of us & we are innocent bystanders subjected to difficulties as they arise.
A traffic jam for example...
Is the reason why we feel agitated because we are delayed in our journey?
On the surface this may seem to be the case.
The traffic jam is the cause of our frustration if it wasn't there then there would be no frustration in the mind.
Take a closer look the real cause of frustration is the response in the mind to the obstruction, not the journey itself.
If there was no frustration in the mind then there would be no problem.
Where does a problem come from - within or without?
This one point is worth dwelling on in meditation.
If we can recognize that the problems and issues that we experience in our life come from our mind then we are empowered to solve the problem.
Our education and the tone of the media and prominent voices in our society lead us in a different direction. Generally we tend to view the external situation as the problem and turn to an external action as the solution.
To run around doing stuff to try and solve our problem.
The Quakers have a saying where they say: 'Don't just do something sit there.'
I love this statement as there is so much that we can learn from it.
Sitting there and changing our mind is the most radical action we can engage in as this will change our experience on a deep level.
Changing and moving around external conditions is simply glossing over the issue.
So what does it mean to be a hero according to Shantideva.
To simple change the mind.
This does not require us to pick up a weapon and travel somewhere.
It simply requires us to take a gently look into our mind and distinguish those states of mind that are beneficial and those that are not.
Then begin to reduce the power of the negative states of mind.
How is this done. The first step is to recognize negative states of mind for what they are. Clouds passing through the sky of our mind. Begin to recognize the mind that blames others for our frustrations.
Changing our mind is a powerful action for world peace and will lead to a transformation of our experience.