Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No more whining

No more whining

Hand-painted sign that says '$5.00 for whining'.
When we make an effort to concentrate on only positives, life can become a bit easier and more enjoyable. (Photo by Russell Limprecht)

As a result of my meditation practice, I’ve realized that I have been complaining way too much the last few months. On my birthday in November, I made an early New Year’s resolution: “NO MORE WHINING!” So for the last six or seven weeks I have not complained about anything. Instead I just think or say that it could always be worse. I’ve really made an effort to concentrate on only positives. Life has been a bit easier and more enjoyable.

Negative thought only stimulates negative emotions. When my emotions are slanted with or by negativity, life becomes really painful and horrible. Normally I’m positive and upbeat, so when I realized that I was becoming a bitter, complaining, self-centered whiner, it became clear that I was becoming exactly what I dislike. I wasn’t taking any responsibility for what happened to me. I was stuck in a “poor me” mindset.

Ultimately, I am in prison for things that I did when I was free. It is my responsibility to deal with the people here and this situation as best as I can. I cannot be held responsible for what they do to me, but I am responsible for how I react to the things that happen to me. Whining is not a very responsible reaction to anything. Suffering from the “poor me” syndrome only creates more suffering. Negative thought and emotion only perpetuate additional negativity. A positive electric current cannot be a part of a negative current. A negative current cannot produce a positive current. So how can negative thoughts produce positive results? Maybe they can if we shed them, set them aside, and learn from them.

So, I’m doing well accentuating the positives in my life and letting go of the negatives. In my jailhouse idiom, it’s “NO MORE WHINING!”—three words with much wisdom and practicality behind them. So things are better; in fact things are good. Because I want them to be, and I have the power within myself to make them so. My life is not a sum total of all the things that happen to me. It is simply my reaction, response, and attitude to those things. What I do is my life; not what others do.

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

More on this topic