Today, I woke up at 6.00am and I couldn’t get back to sleep. As I lie awake, these thoughts played through my head.
1. Do not worry about tomorrow because you do not have control over that. Worry about whether you are making full use of today.
At that moment as I lay on the bed, I fully understood. There isn’t anything that I can do about the changes that are to come. If so, why not enjoy the day that I have today before it happens? Why don’t I just immerse myself in focusing on the positive, the things I have, rather than dwell on the things I don’t? Fact is, I am blessed.
I found my answer to the “crossroad” that my Meditation teacher said I would be experiencing, that has made me wary of what is to come:
“When we look at change head on, we may begin to see that it has an upside as well. We can count on the fact that whatever conditions exist in our lives will also change. Things may get worse. But they may also improve. Because of impermanence, we have the opportunity to learn, develop, grow, teach, memorize and make other positive changes, including practicing the Buddha’s path. If everything about us were set in concrete, none of these changes would be possible. The uneducated will remain uneducated. The poor and hungry would stay poor and hungry. We would have no chance to end our hatred, greed, or ignorance and their negative consequences. “– Bhante Henepola Gunaratana from “Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness”
I’ve started to doubt this thought on my way to work later though. Oh well, at least I understood it at that moment. It all starts with a spark of understanding.
2. Developing your mind
I’ve always been a whiney turt. I’ve always been obsessed with my own problems, wallowing in despair or unhappiness, as I torture myself thinking about my “problems”. Ask yuan, she knows that side of me and has been accepting me for who I was. Thank God. Hurhur. *hugs* She told me honestly she wanted to kill me back then when I was harping over some retard issue. Haha, better late than never.
Recently, however, I start to realise that problems exist only in your mind, only if you allow this thought to consume you.
“Eventually you will see that the real cause of problems is not life itself. It’s the commotion that mind makes about life that really causes problems.” – Michael Singer
It takes conscious effort to stop that harmful thought from arising in your mind. You begin by understanding that overwhelming yourself with this thought will not do any good. Try to stem that thought in your mind when you realise it is arising. Focus on something happier. It felt good when someone commented that I seem happier.
I have to work towards being more independent, be comfortable in my own skin, be less whiney (which i must say, i think i have improved quite a bit *pat on back* hurhur) and focusing on the positive.
3. Be less self involved and more concerned about others
When you stop focusing on yourself and be more concern about others, the following results.
“Your positive behaviour has generated 2 types of immediate results. The first is internal- how you feel. Since you have been consistently generous and loving and have reflected upon your acts of generosity and love, your mind is peaceful and happy. The second is external: other people appreciate you and care for you. While their caring is certainly pleasant, it is less important than how you feel. Since external effects are dependent on the response of others, they are less reliable.” – Bhante Henepola Gunaratana from “Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness”
Again, recently, I feel choose to let go of my problems and focus on realising how blessed I am. I make an effort to smile more and be more generous with my words.
As a result, I show concern for the people around me and I realise they open up to me more. The feeling that someone trusts you enough to share, feels good.
At the end of the day, there are benefits to being less self-involved and more concerned for others’ well-being… and because sometimes, you momentarily forget about your own problems.
4. Spread the happiness
When you try to be happy, spread this happiness around. Everyone has their issues and crosses to bear. It’s a matter of whether they choose to let you see that side of them. Why not spread the happiness, offer a smile or a joke to make this world a better place? Because everyone, I mean everyone, just wants to be happy.
5. Everyone has their issues
Yes you do too.
6. Learning to give and love unconditionally
Love vs attachment. This is something that I’m trying to understand and balance. Unconditional love means not expecting that the person reciprocates and doing everything you can to make the person happy. A lot of times though, as much as we hate to admit, we start forming expectations and when the person can’t meet it, we become disappointed. We start resenting and creating pressure on the person we initally wanted to be happy. It thus becomes a vicious cycle and a downward spiral begins. Accepting the person for who they are instead of wanting them to change… that’s something I’m still learning. I can’t provide more insights on this because I’m still trying to understand it myself. Do share, if you have some interesting thoughts. We can learn it together.
At the end of the day, life is a learning journey. What makes me excited and happy about life, is knowing that I am determined to be a better person that I was, yesterday.
To sum up:
” Life has its ups and downs, and we create them. This vehicle of ours- our mind-body combination- is full of difficult moments. The only thing that works, according to the Buddha’s teachings, is to find a way to improve the only instrument that has the power to make ourselves and the world happy. That instrument is our own mind.” – Bhante Henepola Gunaratana from “Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness”
Dear readers (I’m happily assuming I should put an “s” behind the word reader), shall we explore this together?