Tag Archives: buddhism.

The Peace of Surrender

Have you noticed how we spend our whole life furiously rushing here and there, busily organising all those things we have to do?

The list of things which are essential to do or organise gets bigger and bigger, somehow the more we do the more there is to be done.

We all know that we have to stick to plan A to get it all fitted in, without successfully completing plan A life would just be impossible to live. Woe betide anything or anyone that gets in the way of completing this plan, everything has to fall into place ‘just so’, or our life would be disastrous.

So we get irritated, annoyed, stressed, anxious, angry and depressed when things don’t go according to plan. Basically we end up miserable trying to do all the things we think we need to do to enjoy our life. Isn’t that ironic?

Stressed

But have you ever experienced those times when things seriously go adrift, when disaster strikes and we can’t stick to Plan A, or even Plan B or C? An unplanned event or situation has arisen, blasting its way through our carefully laid plans.

We try desperately to hang on to our plan: ” But i really need to be there at 7pm”, “at the very least I have to be there by monday lunchtime”,” I can’t possibly take Monday off work”, we cling on to any semblance of our original plan getting more and more stressed and anxious by the minute. The point eventually arises when we give up all hope of adhering to those plans, the situation is beyond our control, therefore we have to mentally surrender to circumstance, give up resistance to the situation and accept. Continue reading

Isn’t it Ironic?

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.

To do
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

I just need one more thing……

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?

Messy room

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

Dissolve away your self-dislike!

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. DislikeThis 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

Lose the pain.

How many times a day do we feel uncomfortable, miserable, irritated or upset? Stopped in our tracks by irritating things that tarnish our happiness and take the edge off our joyful day.

Do you recognize any of these scenarios…………..

‘I had to wait 20 minutes to get into the bathroom’

‘All the corn flakes were gone when I went for my breakfast’

‘Somebody pushed past and took the last seat, I had to stand right through’

‘I texted them three times and they still haven’t answered’

‘They all went together but I wasn’t invited’

‘I felt so upset when he answered so sharply’

‘I didn’t even get a birthday card from them’

‘It wasn’t my choice of restaurant so I didn’t enjoy the meal’

These may be relatively trivial situations, but how often do we say ‘I’m really fed up, it’s been a miserable day,just one thing after another’ ?

raining umbrella

All these little things rattle us in one way or another, we feel just a little pain from criticism, dejection or irritation, rather than sailing through our day with a light and happy mind. Sometimes situations really get us down and we feel the scene has been set for a disastrous day, our mind feeling heavy already at the prospect. So how can we avoid all this? Continue reading

The Magic Rug.

After a long hard day, in the fading summer light, I sat down with my fat-free yoghurt and a cup of tea.

My gaze fell to the large burnt orange rug in the center of the room and I was amazed at how bright and vivid the colors appeared. It was almost like new.

Edit rug

I realized that my knee, in my line of vision, was obscuring the grubby stained area that refused to shift despite numerous carpet shampoos, but I chose to ignore it.

I felt happy and relaxed as I enjoyed the toning shades and shapes of the rug. Normally my attention is drawn straight to the grubby section and I feel a bit of tension in my mind when I think “I really must look out for a new one in the sales”. Even when a visitor compliments the rug I usually reply ” Thanks, it used to be really nice but I ought to replace it as it is a bit grubby now”, my mind always focusing on the faults, rather than the lovely colors and shapes.

I realized that if I could view everyone I met in the same way as I was viewing the rug right now, I would feel more open and relaxed, enjoying their good qualities rather than being drawn to focus on their ‘faults’.

As I relaxed and enjoyed the rug, I realised all this was dependent on my mind, I could choose whether to have a tight uncomfortable mind (looking at the grubby patch) or a light relaxed mind (enjoying the beautiful colors), depending on whether I focus on its positive or negative qualities, which in themselves depended on what I labelled with the words ‘positive’ or ‘negative’, again a matter of choice. So I could make a choice depending on the outcome I desired; a grouchy negative mind, or a positive relaxed happy mind.

happy and grouch faces

‘Aha’, you may say, ‘the rug only looked that way due to the fading summer light, it wouldn’t look that way with ‘proper’ lighting’. So then I considered what is ‘proper’ lighting? Bright sunshine is ‘proper’ light, but similarly, morning light, evening light and cloudy daylight are also ‘proper’ light, so the rugs appearance is dependent on the type of light it is viewed in as well as the positive or negative state of my mind, so therefore the rug is neither inherently beautiful or inherently tatty from its own side, but dependent on various factors. Continue reading

Becoming the Eye of the Storm

The power of a storm consumes all in its path to fuel its increasing intensity and damage. Everything it touches is dragged into this disturbed atmospheric state, often destroyed then cast aside. The calmest place to be is at the eye of the storm.

As parents we often experience ‘disturbed atmospheric states’ when our troubled teenagers (T.T.) erupt into fury for one reason or another, or indeed when we have other difficult relationships with partners or work colleagues. It is so easy after constant bombardment to be swept up into this angry fury, fuelling it further and resulting in further damage. In these situations we need to become ‘the eye of the storm’, the still, peaceful place in the center of this mayhem. This way we remain calm and controlled and can avoid being dragged into the frenzy, allowing us to peacefully buffer the negative energy affecting those around us.

eye of the storm

How can we do this?  Continue reading