There’s a list of behaviours guaranteed to piss off your friends after you come back from a retreat. Preachiness is probably right at the top of it.
The Buddha famously prohibited evangelising people into the Buddhist faith. It’s one of the vows that a monk or nun takes. And that’s a good vow to silently ascribe to after we re-enter the world after a retreat. Particularly after a really powerful one.
“Thou shalt not be mindful on someone else’s behalf”
The tendency is to either want people around you to experience what you have experienced or to miss the point and use what we’ve learned on the retreat to browbeat those around us to become more ‘useful’ in making our life easier (e.g. “I think your stealing my cheese out of the fridge is a symptom of your hidden anxiety. You should meditate more”).
Remember one of the commandments of mindfulness is “Thou shalt not be mindful on someone else’s behalf”. We can only be mindful of our own stuff. And most of that is extremely subtle and well-hidden from our own discernment, so don’t even think of making yourself an expert in other people’s hidden gizmos. It’s quite enough to work for a lifetime to wade through our own material. At best we can hope that our example will inspire others or that the changes in our behaviour will lead to a mutual adjustment in those around us.
Preaching over. 🙂
I’d love to know your thoughts about Preachiness. Drop me a message with any thoughts, comments, questions, queries or insights that pop up while reading the blog. I’d love to hear from you!