Jul 09 2014

Do You Have Enough Time?

Published by Cathie under Main

“The trouble is, you think you have time.” Buddha

Many people think their life is going to last forever, that they have all the time in the world. As a result, they live their lives passively because they think they have time. They put off to tomorrow because they convince themselves they have all this time.  There is no power which could guarantee that you will wake up in the morning. This is why it is so important to master living in the moment because that is what you have. And it is important that you use the time you have.

I’ve become pretty good staying in the moment. It’s something I’ve been working on for years, but yesterday I had a call that propelled me back in time. I have this desk that my parents gave to me when I started first grade over fifty years ago in another state. The desk is still in great shape. It stayed by my side all through school. When my children were in school, they both used it. I remember it traveling room to room. Our son took it away to college. When he returned, I found it in his garage. He had no use for it, so I took it home. I told our oldest grandson I would keep it for him until he was ready. Yesterday he cleaned out his room to make space for it. He is starting first grade and he would like the desk.  (This is the same grandson who likes to write. My first stories were crafted at that desk.)

When I returned from work, I went into the grandchildren’s room and stared at the traveling desk, remembering sitting at it after school completing my homework. (I went to Catholic school and there were always copious amounts of homework. You completed it because you didn’t want the ruler on your tiny hands.) This little desk will now begin its third generation of students. Time does flow extremely swiftly. Don’t you think?

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Jul 08 2014

Holding on to Anger

Published by Cathie under Main

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Buddha

Bear’s saga continues: When the old man returned, he found Bear asleep in the cave. The old man gently shook Bear awake. “You’re back!” Bear exclaimed. “What time is it?”

The old man laughed. “It is the time it is.”

“How many days were you gone? I’ve lost track of the sun’s rising and settings.”

“Unfortunately, my business took longer than I expected. I didn’t mean to leave you so long, but sometimes there are things out of our control. But look at you! You are alive and well. I am proud of you, Bear.”

Bear rubbed his belly. He was glad the old man was back. The first few days he had spent feeling sorry for himself, and then something shifted and he began  to recognize the illusions in his life. “At first I was mad at you for leaving me here alone,” he admitted.

“Anger is very destructive,” the old man said gently. “It is also one of the poisons of the soul.”

Bear didn’t want to describe how he had raged and thrown rocks down the hill, swore and yelled, because he had a feeling the old man knew that. “I have a problem with anger.”

The old man nodded. “You’re angry at the man who killed your father.”

“I’ve tried to let it go, but it won’t leave. It’s stuck to me.”

“I see. Anger is not good for your soul. Anger’s friends are hatred, animosity, and aversion. These poisons will harm your soul. Anger causes depression or obsession over real or imagined enemies.”

Bear thought about what the old man said. “How do I let go of my anger? I’m tired of carrying it around. It’s gotten very heavy.”

The old man smiled. “When you let go of your anger you will become lighter and freer. The anger you have been carrying around has filled your soul with suffering and unhappiness. Anger has caused you to make unskilled decisions which affect your future. You need to let it go.”

Bear’s eyes widened. “You mean just let it go? There’s no magic trick?”

“Carrying around your anger is like carrying around credit card debt with mounting interest. Pretty soon you’ll be drowning in it.”

Bear thought. He knew many people who carried around large amounts on their credit cards and always seemed angry. “But how do I let it go?”

The old man smiled. “Here’s a technique I’ve used. Visualize your anger in a balloon. Tie it firmly in a knot and then release it and let it float away. Next practice loving kindness and compassion to yourself and your anger will be transformed.”

For the next few days, Bear struggled with letting go of all his anger, and did he have a lot! It wasn’t as easy as letting it go in a balloon. He tried, and then like a clever thief, anger crept back in when he wasn’t paying attention to his thoughts. When he tried to talk to the old man about it, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “You’re a work in progress and you’ll have to keep working on it.”

So Bear did because he was getting homesick and missed his mother’s cooking. He knew he wouldn’t be allowed to return home until he completed his lessons. He dug deep down into his soul and attempted to work on the lessons. The old man sat next to him. “I see you are trying to transform your anger and that is good.”

Bear sighed. “I’m trying, but it’s hard.”

“I understand. It is important to learn that one doesn’t throw his wisdom out the window and act like a wild animal with negative actions fueled by basic instincts. Many nice bears have lost good jobs, spouses, and friends due to a moment’s rage. Consequently, many families have endured hardships as a result.”

Bear thought for a moment. “Before we hibernated, one of my friends spat in my face. Instead of walking away, I taunted him and called him names. He called me names back and pulled my fur. I was so angry that I punched him in the gut.” Bear hung his head in shame. “I hurt my friend so badly he ended up in the hospital.”

Until next time. While most of us haven’t hurt someone to the point like Bear did, we have all caused harm on others from our actions. Is there someone you need to make amends to?”

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Jul 07 2014

The Root of Suffering

Published by Cathie under Main

“The root of suffering is attachment.” Buddha

We all know people who are attached to things: the past, their youth, possessions, thoughts, ways of doing things. Life is a constant state of change and if you don’t “go with the flow” you will suffer. Our thoughts can become chains that keep us anchored. Suffering keeps us trapped in the cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. There is no beginning or end to this cycle. The goal is to escape the process by mastering the lower energies of the soul. Attachment causes desire, passion, and greed. While desire and passion are good for embracing life, too much desire and passion causes greed. Many people have an unhealthy desire for pleasure and strive to avoid pain.

One of the aims of following a spiritual path is to cultivate wisdom, non-attachment, and loving kindness. All life is transitory. This will pass. You will pass. It’s what you do with your time here that is important.

Birth, aging, and illness are suffering. Death is suffering. Facing your enemy is suffering. Not getting what you want is suffering. Being separated from someone you love is suffering. This cause of suffering is found in the thirsts of the physical and mental body and its perceived illusion. If you can overcome the craving or desire and remove it from your thoughts, the passion for that craving or desire would die out. You would end your suffering.

So how do you go about doing this? I’m still working on it, but I have learned not to become attached. It is what it is. I strive to stay in the present moment and most of the time I’m successful.

Join me tomorrow for Bear’s saga. We’ll see how he does with suffering.

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