For most of us, we are so busy trying to be perfect at home, at work and in our relationships, we actually end up doing worse than if we just lightened up, and took things with a grain of salt.
We have all had images portrayed to us from the stories we heard as children, to the lessons we learned in school. Later it was our peer groups in school, as we tried to be in the most prestigious group of kids. In University we assumed that certain courses of study required us to behave a certain way, Drama and arts students were the fun ones, Engineering students were the pranksters and jokers, the jocks, well we all know what they thought about 24/7, scoring. Then when we start work, we are given the talk about the corporate culture, with the sometimes not so subtle hint, that you must fit in. So by the time we are in our mid 20’s we have had expectations, peer pressure, guilt trips, anger jealousy and temptations dumped on us. No wonder we are walking wrecks, quivering with psychosis, and self flagellation.
Yet we are but one thought away from ending this situation. We don’t have to wait till this happens or that is finished. You can start working on achieving enlightenment, right now. Would you like to know the secret word, that unlocks the gate? Acceptance, and it starts with yourself. Here is a little exercise you can perform at home; look into a mirror, now close your eyes, and when you open them just look at your reflection. Who do you see looking back at you? Is it an angry young man, perhaps a depressed divorcee, or someone in their golden years. You may see a poverty stricken person struggling to get by. All these are ok, as they will be your motivation to become a better person, and awaken your compassion, starting with yourself, and spreading to others. Mention the word compassion to most people and ask them to define it, almost all will phrase it as doing something good towards someone else. Yet how many of us have found an excuse not to be there for our parents, our spouse, even our children. Until we are there for ourselves, we will find it easier to just run away, to escape, to avoid becoming involved. When we do this, we are not waiting for a better opportunity, we are avoiding being in the here and now. We just have this one chance at now, and then it is gone, never to be repeated, never to be corrected. The moment we are experiencing right now has a few qualities, it’s fresh, it’s unique and it’s precious. It is to be savored like a single bite of your favorite desert, to be as refreshing as that first drink of fresh water, after a hard day’s work,
So start with accepting yourself, the one you see in the mirror. Embrace you flaws, your aches and pains, for they are your armor in the battles you will face. The more you embrace yourself, as you really are, the more you will have the strength to tackle the pain you see in others. Tomorrow we’ll start learning some techniques, to help you. For now, just tug off superman’s cape, and just be yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror, and think about all those things about yourself, that have bothered you, make a list, then accept that this is you, right now. Over the next few days you will change, it’s time you decided how you will change, instead of letting others choose.
“Be like the Buddha
Conquer yourself and live a proper life.
Have nothing and live in freedom.
Once you have done this,
Where will you find a teacher.”
Buddhist Wisdom, Daily Reflections by David Crosweller p161