Free Your Pen · Writing

Buddhist Writing Prompt: Don’t Wait in Ambush

Don’t Wait in Ambush is about not holding a grudge or seeking revenge when somebody has hurt you. When you hold a grudge others have more control over your own mind than you do.

The original lojong slogan is the same and is related to the previous one: Don’t be mean. When you wait in ambush, you’re waiting for an opportunity to be mean, going out of your way to spring an attack or craft the perfect comeback. You wait for somebody to make a mistake or display a weakness, and then use it to bait them, laugh at them, or feel smug.

This slogan reminds you not to seek revenge when somebody has upset you. That doesn’t mean you should deny how you feel or ignore what has happened. You need to be honest about your feelings, but retaliation won’t make you feel better. It might feel good in the short term, but in the long run, it feeds into your negativity and becomes a vicious cycle.

This is the opposite of freedom and spontaneity and it will never make you happy. In the end, an eye for an eye makes everybody blind.

Apply this slogan to your writing practice when you receive bad reviews or negative criticism and you want to seek revenge. It may seem like an obvious thing to say, but not everybody will enjoy your writing. There will be people who just don’t understand where you’re coming from or who aren’t interested in the kinds of stories you want to write. Sometimes those people will say hurtful things about your work.

In the end, seeking revenge and holding grudges takes up a lot of space in your head. It’s much better to fill that space with imagination and new ideas and possibilities. You can’t write well if your mind is clogged with resentment and blame. So when you feel like seeking revenge – let it go.

Your writing prompt this weekend: In your slogan journal, list all the grudges you’re holding, from the silly to the serious.

More in the book: Free Your Pen: Mind Training for Writers
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