A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Times change Values don’t (part 2)

“In industrialized countries, one sees many unhappy people. They have acquired everything they need, enjoy all the conditions required for a comfortable life, and yet they are not content with their lot. They make themselves unhappy through jealousy or for all sorts of other reasons. Certain people are continually on the alert for a cataclysm, while others believe the end of the world is nigh. Such people manufacture their own suffering because they are unable to think sanely. If only they changed their way of seeing things, their torment would disappear.” H.H. The Dalai Lama p. 190, 365 Dalai lama, Daily Advice from the heart.

The two young ladies talking about love, actually said something deeply profound. That love means the other person is more important to you than the everyday cares in the world. That you turn off the unnecessary distractions, and concentrate on the interaction between the two of you. If you read the newspapers, self help books, listen to talk shows about relationships, you will notice a common thread: lack of meaningful interaction. For those of you that have someone in your life, when was the last time you spent even ONE DAY with them without checking Twitter, Facebook, your phone, email or anything else. Yes we all justify it, but I have this project, or that sale hangs in the balance, and a myriad of other excuses. Yet we as humans get the greatest pleasure when we connect with that one person, we call our spouse or partner. So plan a day for just the two of you. Just the two of you at home, sitting beside a waterfall, a country cabin, as it is not the place, although some are more romantic. Spend a day reconnecting with that person who you said to everyone “This is the one”.

Now that you have had that day, look at how technology runs your life. Remember it is there to make your life easier, not be your boss. Set up the ground rules on how you will use it to accomplish your goals, including having quality time with your family and friends. recently I was out with a friend, and the table next to us was a group of four ladies who seemed to be good friends. I say seemed to be as they spent almost as much time texting others, as they did talking to each other over the meal. The Buddha taught us to live in the present, which also means where we are physically at. In his time there were no devices to transport us to be with someone we were not physically with. Except that one we carry between our ears, hang our hats on, your mind. Back then it was thinking about someone, other than who you were with, which was not wholesome then, and isn’t now, even though we use technology, it is still our mind that makes the choice.

Be mindful of the choices you make today. A few days ago I mentioned the idea of making one meaningful change in your life every month. Perhaps you can find one way to master technology, instead of letting technology be the master. One of the first lifestyle altering technologies mankind discovered was fire. Fire makes a great servant, it can keep us war, scare away predators, dry our clothes, and cook our food. However if we don’t treat it with respect, we can get seriously burned or even killed.

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