Personal Note

My most valued possession is my family. Even if you are living in a box somewhere, and you have the love and support of your family, you will always be wealthy. Love really is all you need. From love, great things will emerge. From your thoughts, you can create greatness.

This is what I need to remind myself of everyday to be the best person that I can be. Live your life with gratitude. Be thankful for all that you have everyday, even if it is your eyes to see or your ears to hear or your feet to walk or your hands to create. Understand your place in this Universe; how infinitesimally small you are, but how huge a contribution your Spirit is. Don't wear blinders to the world around you, you're not the only one here. Be kind, considerate, don't be judgemental, love others, and yourself. Know that you are perfect inside; that you are love.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Week 11

Overcome the angry by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; overcome the liar by truth.

Are the angry, the wicked, the miser and the liar those that you meet on your outward journey, or are they found when you contemplate yourself on your inward journey?

I suppose it works for both. As I’ve learned in my personal experiences, though, you cannot single out the angry or the wicked or the miserly or the liars unless you first tame those beasts in yourself. This is not to suggest that you single out or pass judgment on anyone when you do come to terms with those attributes in you, but we often do recognize and dislike in another what we recognize and dislike about ourselves.

 Starting a process of change and healing in our own lives creates tolerance and acceptance when we do recognize these attributes in another. And if we practice non-anger with ourselves when we feel the grip of anger; goodness when we feel the bitter taste of wickedness; generosity when we feel the selfish tug of greed; or shine the light of truth into the darkness of falsehood, we can offer these more positive solutions with our own actions. This does not mean to point out the “negative” actions of others. It just means that, with focused attention on yourself, you will start to become your best you—and can live and lead by example.

All things come with practice and diligence and you can overcome any habitual traits you may have accumulated over the years, such as those stated in this quote, just as easily as any other good habit you have found it necessary to form. I’m sure you have heard the saying, “It only takes 21 days to form a new habit.” Well, it can work in reverse, too. If you really want it, and it’s worth it to you, it can be done. All it really takes is the first step. For me, it was learning to pay attention. I started to pay attention to my thoughts and feelings and looked at why I was feeling the way I was, whenever I could. Eventually, this became a habit for me to do without ever really thinking about it.
Some things really do seem easier said than done, like paying attention all of the time to every little thought that you think or every little feeling that you feel. But it’s really not about policing all your thoughts and feelings. That’s where being gentle with yourself comes in; you do it when you can and let the rest go. It is impossible to keep track of every bit of chatter that occupies your mind. That’s why paying attention to your feelings is so important. When you catch yourself feeling something, it can remind you to become aware of your thoughts. Thoughts create emotions; emotions are feelings; feelings are usually easier to spot than thoughts, alone.

Speaking of things being easier said than done, this quote may seem to you to simplify the very strong and possibly worst attributes a person can have.  “Overcome the anger by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; overcome the liar by truth.”

Simple. Right. That’s easy for the Buddha to say, he was a Buddha!
I certainly don’t think he meant for you to feel like you’ve been left out of some sort of spiritual “loop”, or that you are “missing” something. Don’t make it harder than it is.  We all know little things add up. Becoming the person I am, and still developing into, has taken time. It’s a lifelong process. We all have a habit of wanting everything right now. But, there is no rush to building your story. You will accomplish what you’re supposed to, when you’re supposed to.

Here are my suggestions to working on incorporating this quote into your life:

“Overcome the angry by non-anger” As often as you can, try to pay attention every time you become angry. You don’t have to do anything else, right now, just notice the anger. The next step would be to decide if your anger is justified, and then worth it. The more often you do this, the more second-nature it will become, and it will be easier to let go and practice the “non-anger” that will overcome.

“Overcome the wicked by goodness” This may seem to you to be easier than the last task; after all, no one really wants to be wicked, right? Wickedness comes in many different forms. You don’t have to do the obvious things you would expect to be considered wicked, but, we often do things out of habit and don’t even realize we are doing something harmful. Sometimes the little things that add up are even bigger than one single event. Have you ever edged up in traffic to avoid letting that one car in who thought they would be smarter than everyone else and pass you all to the very last minute, just so you could ‘teach them a lesson’? I certainly have. These are the types of behaviors that are so sneaky, you don’t notice them forming into habits. Try, even if just for one day, or even just once in one day, to consciously change something you do like this and you will be overcoming wickedness with good. You will feel better about yourself.

“Overcome the miser by generosity” Oh, this is an easy one. Give more to charity, right? Not necessarily. It is very liberating to give whatever you can to causes that you are passionate about, whether it is your church, women’s shelters or the Humane Society, but we don’t all have a ton of money to give away. There are many connotations to being a miser, not all of which pertain to the hoarding of money. You can also be a miser with your time, kindness and love. Practice being a little more generous with whatever you can, and you will definitely be on your way to forming some fantastic ‘feel-good’ habits. (Need a quick and easy 10 step guide to becoming more generous? I found a great blog post with very thoughtful comments here.)

“Overcome the liar by truth” This one really is what it means. We all have moments in our lives when a ‘little white lie’ is necessary. But too much of something always proves to be not so good. Making a habit of lying, no matter how small the lie, will eventually creep up on you, forming a habit that can’t possibly be good. The idea behind forming habits (good ones) is to have them become second nature; automatic. The same can be said for bad habits, as well. Do you really want your second nature habit to be lying? I don’t think anyone’s idea of living includes always checking themselves to make sure their stories are adding up. This, for me, also includes living your own truth by being your authentic self. Finding what you are passionate about and not being afraid to live from your heart.

Making a promise to yourself to try at least some of the methods found in this week’s quote is the first step in your commitment to yourself to building new positive habits in your life. There’s no right or wrong way to start. Just be aware of your thoughts and feeling as often as you can. In your quest to "treat another as you would want to be treated” don’t forget to treat yourself as you should someone else; with pleasantness, goodness, generosity and truth.

Until next time…




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