27. Don’t be swayed by external circumstances; don’t vacillate.
These two slogans go together to remind us that the direct experience of our world starts in the sense perceptions and the mind. It’s the stories we tell ourselves about the direct experience that paint the world in different shades of “like” and “don’t like.” This colors my conceptual perception of the outer circumstances and leads me to react habitually.
Last summer in Greece, my partner and I received a potent teaching related to this slogan. Our teacher was DFNABS (Dog Formerly Known as Black Stinky), one of the independent dogs who lived around our favorite beach. One day DFNABS suddenly ran down the beach, barking loudly and excitedly at something in the trees behind the beach. When we went to investigate the situation, we found a deflated Tyrannosaurus Rex balloon stuck in a tree. We immediately got the message: How many things in our lives do we bark at madly, only to discover that they are merely T. Rex balloons? Seeing these balloons for what they are usually deflates them.