Archive | November 2016

Transform poison into beauty

On Wednesday I was listening to a talk and I heard the story of peacocks thriving on poison. I was instantly caught by that and after a quick internet search I did find the following: “Peacocks live in forest with poisonous plants, they eat the poisonous plants that no other animals can eat, and instead of being poisoned, peacocks transformed the poisons they eat into beautiful, colorful and vibrant plumage and thrive” [1] Some other sources repeat that fact which makes me believe there is truth in it. [2]


by Kathrin M. Wyss – Spring 2016 in the zoo in San Francisco

As the pearl, which is the product of an irritation within the oyster (see blog July 2016) , it seems that nature finds unique ways to transform poison into beauty. Being human, and as such part of nature, the question arises how can we do similar things. How can we transform challenges, irritation, poisons of our minds & soul into beauty, into positive, into something worthwhile?

Spiritual sources refer to compassion, holding the space for what is difficult and be free of judgmental thoughts. Then in the universal perspective nothing is neither good nor bad. However, we are living in a world where judgements seem to be the currency, as is negativity. Bad news sell better, horror stories get attention and if we talk as much about good things as we do about bad ones, we were told to live in a pink bubble and ignoring the ‘real’ world.

And here starts my thought process on transforming poison into beauty. What is the ‘real word’? What is real? Is not everything a subjective perception and as such just a perspective? In mediation, we consider finding levels of agreement where there is disagreement and by doing so we drain destructive energy. We can disagree on high level or low level perspectives, but we will find some agreement when we are willing to shift our original position and consider different thoughts as being valid as well.

But that is sometimes very difficult and the question to ask ourselves is: Why is that so?  Defending our position means we protect something that is very important to us, even if we might not be aware and can express it in words. It can be something that we  or our family cherishes or something that is a cultural tradition; something that comes from our experiences or knowledge tank; or something that springs from our religious, spiritual or political beliefs.

So being confronted with ‘poison’ (hence not our thing), we could argue, could object,  could protect our position OR we can do it like the peacocks & the oysters and ‘digest’ it and let it into our system by thinking and validating the thoughts along what we think and belief. By doing so, we transform it into something that is more manageable and ‘digestible’. I strongly belief, that each of us has this ability and it is up to every one of us to choose where and when we want to apply this capability.

[1] From a Dharma Talk given by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche on 23 May 2006, recorded by Loh Seng Piow
[2]  and