Punt VII. Leef op je gemak in een krankzinnige wereld
Don’t misinterpret may mean Don’t misinterpret the slogans, but it may also mean Don’t misinterpret what’s going on in your life. Don’t misinterpret what others are saying or doing, Don’t misinterpret your own thoughts and actions. In the Indo-Tibetan tradition there’s a commentary to this slogan that lists the six ways in which we are likely to misinterpret, but probably we are clever people and we could find many more than six ways. Like all the other slogans that say don’t do this or don’t do that, the joke is that the slogan exists exactly because we always do that which the slogan is telling us not to do. Misinterpretation is constant and inevitable. If, as we’ve said earlier, we can’t ever really fully understand ourselves or others, and if we naturally go on imagining that we can, then we are certainly misinterpreting. Maybe the slogan actually means, When you misinterpret, as you inevitably will, know that you are doing this. And try not to build too tall and cumbersome a castle on the shaky foundations of your misinterpretation.Here is how to notice when you are misinterpreting. When your spiritual practice is making you unhappy, when you feel grim or miserable about it, or on the other hand, when you are feeling happy about your practice and therefore quite arrogant and disapproving of others who are not as peaceful and holy as you imagine you are—when this is your situation, it is a sure sign that you are misinterpreting. Mind training will sometimes be difficult. But even when it’s difficult, you will feel some joy in it. You are happy that you have the opportunity to do this, and there is a sense of generous acceptance of your life even when it is tough and even when you make mistakes, as you certainly will. You don’t need to overdo the highs and lows. What is true in your own case is true for others as well. All inflation and disparagement is misinterpretation. You, others, and the whole wide world are as they are. There’s nothing to interpret.