Have you noticed how we spend our whole life planning?
Planning for later, next week, next month, next year?
What we can do, where we can go, what we can buy?
From planning our next trip to the coffee shop to planning our next interview or holiday we are constantly planning on ways to make our life happier. Even right down to the nitty gritty things in our life such as making sure we nip into the best vacant table in the restaurant, get the train seat with a table, or even squeeze in the queue so we get the last piece of cake.
We live our whole life from the same perspective, we are the centre of our whole universe and everything else revolves around us. We don’t knowingly wake every morning and make this affirmation to ourselves but its like a little hidden agenda that governs every waking moment. We devote our whole life to making ourself happy, we probably include our friends and family in this circle because they are our friends and family, so we give them some importance in the grand scheme of things.
We all do this.
We want to be happy so this is the way to go about it, surely?
Ironically, we’ve got it wrong.
As the great Buddhist master Shantideva said:
“All the happiness there is in this world arises from wishing others to be happy
And all the suffering there is in this world arises from wishing ourself to be happy.”
If you thing about it we have followed this view of ourself as the most important thing in the world for some time now, yet we are still not happy 24/7 are we?
We still get irritable, impatient, angry, and generally fed-up at some point every day so we need a new game plan. Continue reading
Are you a collector of ‘things’ ?
We generally imagine collectors to be people who collect stamps, postcards, china mugs and so forth, and maybe don’t consider ourselves to be a collector, but look a little closer………..
Do you have a collection of shoes, ties, handbags, gadgets? More than you actually need, with some gathering dust or maybe relegated to the attic?
Maybe an ever-growing collection of CD’s, DVD’s, Video games? Or even an ‘achieved list’ of countries visited, mountains climbed or exams passed?
You may even recognize this scenario: its been a long day at work, you have to do the supermarket shop on the way home, the trolley is full, the list complete, but you have a feeling that you need just one more thing, one more extra little treat to take home, whatever is already in the trolley just isn’t quite enough, so you set off for a wander for ‘just one more thing’.
Have you ever wondered why we have the compulsion to gather so many ‘things’? We can go through various levels of reasoning such as ‘I like listening to music’ , ‘I enjoy a DVD at the weekend to relax’ ‘Climbing keeps me fit’ etc, and there is nothing wrong with any of the activities or reasons, but have you ever looked at what is the baseline below all these reasons? Continue reading
How often do you get a little frustrated with yourself, maybe feel you’re not performing according to your expectations (or someone else’s)?
Sometimes when we have these moments, we may beat ourselves up temporarily, but then we are able to move on. However it’s also possible to suffer recurring moments, days, weeks, months or even years of self-dislike when we can’t move on, we find it hard to accept that we’re not the person we imagined ourself to be, or wanted other people to think we were. This can lead to various problems such as lack of confidence and self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. We may find the simplest things in our daily life can trigger the black cloud of self-dislike, irritated at ourself for not being able to perform in thought, word or deed, in some desired way.
Our day may be ruined, we may feel crippled by our imagined lack of self-worth. In this situation its easy to fall into the trap of identifying with this negative view of ourself; (I should have known I couldn’t do it) (I was stupid to think I could do any better) (Oh well, that’s just me, whatever I try I’m still the same old me underneath). We perceive ourself to be a fixed concrete entity, inherently existing and inherently unchangeable no matter what, then we feel stuck with this self we don’t always like or we feel this useless or hopeless self revisits us regularly just when we thought we had shaken it off . Continue reading