I think that my thoughts often get in the way of my life, just as Thich Nhat Hanh said in Being Peace how, in Buddhism, knowledge is regarded as an obstacle to understanding. I can see in my own life how the content of my thoughts is an obstacle to just being.
If our thoughts think us and our feelings feel us, do then our choices choose us? This is the thought that first entered into that which I refer to as "my mind." Choice seems to imply control. I just keep trying to feed the good wolf and let everything happen from there.
When I first read this, I immediately recalled a Prince Ea video that I recently watched, which can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykvC3QXJb18
It seems that much of what is written about in this passage causes sadness, and I'm not sure that sadness is depressions equal. To me, depression stems from a feeling of hopelessness. I've certainly had my share of sadness, as we all have. I'm not so sure that I would classify any periods of my greatest sadness as depression, though. I've known several beings, including family members, friends, and students, who have died by suicide. To me, this is the pinnacle, or maybe depth is a better word, of depression. To not know the kindness, love and compassion that others have for you; to not know the beauty that you have to offer the universe; to not feel meaning in your life...that, to me, would be depression.
Wow...this is something that I need to read, and re-read often. I haven't thought about self-condemnation being part of the ego, just as pride is. Two sides of the same sword, I suppose. I often feel the need to give credit to the universe for the successes in my life, but then I take the blame when things my not go as well. In the end, I need to learn to just experience the moment; feel the moment; but not get attached to the moment. Specifically, don't attach "I" to the moment. Annica <3.
The more I ponder this, the more confused I get. If Gratitude and Suffering cannot coexist, does that mean when we choose Suffering over Safety we are not choosing Gratitude? Then I think, are Suffering and Safety mutually exclusive? Maybe choosing Safety IS choosing Suffering on some level. Think of the person in a job that he hates and isn't aligned with...yet the pay is good and the job is "safe", so he can help provide for his family. So, he stays at the job, choosing Safety. Yet, he is Suffering the whole time.
For me, "not minding what happens" means that I can learn from every experience. My 12 year old daughter listened in with me during the live AW at the Kindness Temple. After Nipun's story, Emma-Leigh commented on how she was first sad that the man did not get the job, but then she thought aloud, "...but if he had gotten the job, I feel his mom would probably have died." This led her to the beautiful and powerful realization that even when something seemingly negative happens, it can often be for the best.
I can understand, accept and move on when my own life happens. But I have difficulty with this when I see and hear about injustices that exist in the world still today. Watching the lives of other people happen, watching them suffer...that is quite the challenge. I can work on myself to understand their lives, but do I then accept it and move on? What good comes of that? There must be more than just accepting it. My adaptation of the Serenity Prayer:
Life, grant me the mindfulness to understand and accept the things that are to be;
the courage to affect and help heal those that are unnatural;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
There are three things that take me from a kindness mode: 1) When I'm in a hurry. My mind becomes preoccupied with my own needs, or rather, wants. This is just me being selfish. 2) When I intellectualize a situation and try to determine if a particular person (or situation) deserves kindness. And then I think who am I to determine whether one deserves or doesn't deserve kindness. This is me being arrogant and judgmental. 3) When I rationalize and create expectations for my kindness. This is my own greed. The gift given to me IS my giving kindness.
So, it all boils down to my own issues, not those of others. I need to continue to work on my own internal transformation in order to bring about an external change in my being. Only then will I be able to freely gift kindness to all <3. Thank you for continuing this circle and bringing it online :).
I think we need to be careful not to confuse being "real" with "doing your own thing". Suppose one has very strong beliefs, but they are not those of a kind and compassionate person. Should they be true to themselves? Should they be real?
Being real, or true to oneself, should be coupled with being kind to others. Being real means opening your heart and not being afraid to change. I feel most true to myself when I'm not trying. When I am just being, when I let go of my ego...that's when I'm being real. When I'm serving others without expectations, whether it be through small acts of kindness or just everyday interactions...that's when I'm being <3.
As I have reflected more on simplicity, I began contemplating needs vs. wants. And within this, there are spiritual and physical aspects. I need a (paying) job, but I really don't want one. Almost all of my wants are becoming more and more spiritual, or something that cannot be touched. But, I need many of my wants because my wants are what gives my life purpose. My wanting to serve others; wanting to be spread kindness; wanting to be a teacher. Is the place to live at the intersection of wants and needs? Simplicity to me is when wants = needs <3
I used to feel like the fish often. Wondering, questioning: What is it really all about? Since I have begun "meditating" (I don't think I'm very good at it, yet), it's given me time to ponder these questions, and more. I think our main reason for being here is to do kind acts for one another and help each other out along our journey. I've stopped trying to be happy; instead, I try to make others happy; brighten the day of a stranger. This has given my life (more) meaning and in turn, makes me happy.
My son took a bad fall in Germany this past summer and ended up hospitalized for a week; this brought our vacation to an abrupt end. He was very depressed for a couple of months and has had to give up his favorite sport. But, this has given him a chance to pursue singing and theater. I also remind him how lucky he is to be alive and how his accident could've sent a message about our plans to traverse the hundreds of miles of semi-dangerous (or so I've been told) roadways in Norway. Although we don't always (ever?) understand why things happen, they still happen and maybe even for a purpose. Looking for that "purpose" is often futile and leads nowhere.