Today you become a better person
Two days ago I mentioned some of the tools Buddhists use to become better people, and yesterday suggested ways for you to identify areas you feel you need to improve. Guess what today it’s time to get to work. Don’t be surprised, you knew this day was coming, all the reading and meditating is only drafting your blueprints for the renoloution you are going to perform on yourself. Time to renew yourself, to start your personal revolution, to evolve into a better happier person. I call it a renoloution as you can’t tear everything down and start over, so it has to be done well you live your life. So time to get your tools out, here are some ways to start becoming calmer, gentler, more peaceful.
When driving to work, do you ever get frustrated at those drivers who don’t signal, or give you the one finger salute. How about the one who beat you to the last parking stall. Perhaps you have even exhibited some signs of road rage. Most of us have had these days, you get to where you are going, and your in a foul mood, as the world is not co-operating in implementing your grand scheme. Instead of developing all that anger, raising your blood pressure, or suffering from worse symptoms of road rage, there’s an easy solution. Leave 5 or 10 minutes earlier for your trip. That way when the person races to merge in front of you, instead of behind, you can just smile, accepting that your not first in line, after all is anyone first in the race we call the morning commute? Think back to the last time you had a bad commute, how much time did you spend complaining with everyone afterwards, how much time that could have been spent on productive tasks, allowing you not to take work home, which means more quality time with those you love. Also as a greener alternative consider public transit, let them drive while you check emails, twitter, and sms your buddy’s who are not driving, as we don’t want to do anything unwholesome and cause an accident.
Your in the express line at the grocery store, the one with 15 items or less, and notice the person in front of you has more than they should. Instead of confronting them, causing an argument, take the extra minute to plan what you will do next, or practice meditation while standing. This way when you get to the cashier, your calm, smiling, and greet them with a polite hello, you will have spread a little happiness. Also you might have avoided a food fight in the aisles, and admit it splattered egg just isn’t fashionable this year. As to those who say raw egg is a good conditioner for your hair, not sure if you want to test the concept away from your shower.
You just sat down to dinner, so you know what that means, the phone is about to ring. These days it’s less likely to be a friend, and more likely to be a telemarketer. One of those who just won’t take not interested for an answer. Instead of getting mad and slamming the phone down, ask them how their day is going, are they having good sales or collecting donations. Then ask them how their boss will fee about them discussing life issues with you for the next hour or so, without getting a sale or donation in return. I have yet to find one, who suddenly doesn’t have to get back to work. It takes about one minute, and I have been polite, wished them a great day, and can enjoy my meal without suffering the aggravation from having gotten mad.
Your child has just spilled a drink on your new sofa. Take a deep breath, and then help them clean it up, and remember they are a child, which means they are still learning. Yes you told them not to drink grape juice, or any other beverage on the sofa, but they saw you drinking your morning coffee there, much like when you were that age seeing is a stronger message than hearing. Better to think in advance choose and stylish, but easy to clean furniture until they are grown up. Otherwise you end up with a living room that is used for show not living. But then you might become a grand parent one day, so here come the messes again. Yet most grandparents take these oops in stride, why because they realize it’s the interaction that is important not the furniture. Perhaps we can learn this 20 or so years sooner, and enjoy life sooner, plus think of all the laughter we can enjoy, being a kid again with our children.
Anger begets anger, it does not diminish it. Just as a campfire will burn itself out after a time, unless more fuel is added, the same with anger. The person who is angry with you will calm down, if you don’t return the anger. If however you return anger in response to anger, it is like adding more wood to a campfire, the flames grow higher. At what point does the campfire threaten to become a forest fire from all the sparks? The same with anger that starts between two people and if allowed to grow, will soon involve more people.
By practicing these and others that you can think of to fit your situation. You become a calmer person. People around will notice you don’t get ruffled, you smile more. Soon you will notice that your more popular, and people pay attention to what you say and do. As you become more practiced at not responding to life’s oops moments, you gain the wisdom to face tougher challenges. You start to understand what the Buddha meant, about happiness is not dependant on anyone or anything else, it’s already inside you. The more we engage in practices that allow us to remain calm, the more our mind feels that calm is the natural state. When our mind feels calm is it’s natural state, when things do bother us, we quickly realize it, and take action to return to a peaceful relaxed mental state.