A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Lighten up, A new beginning

Beautiful beginnings

“A beautiful word or thought that is not

accompanied by corresponding acts is

like a bright flower that bears no fruit.

It would not produce any effect.”

The Buddha

This simple quote is what started me on my continuing journey, of acceptance and compassion. We all have thoughts of self improvement, the I wish I could moments. Those are the seeds of change, now are they going to land in a garden ready to accept them, allow them to develop roots and change what we see, or will they land, dry up and become dust in the wind.

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. ”

John Kenneth Galbraith


Today’s goal is the next thought you think about making a change, stop write it down. It doesn’t matter whether it is a big change, or a tiny one, that’s the one to work on. It’s not about making a big change, or one that will impact others, it’s about making change, the same way we change the air in our lungs, a little at a time, and continuing as long as we breathe. We can all find proof or reasons why we shouldn’t do something. It won’t make much of a difference, no one will notice, the reward is so small for the effort required, and I could keep adding to this list.

“When you’re green, your growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.” Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s Corporation

Years ago I spent a few years in management with McDonald’s, having never worked in a restaurant before. I first read the above quote in Grinding it Out, the making of McDonald’s, the autobiography of Ray Kroc. Think of the image of a plant, think of the largest tree you have seen. As it starts to grow, it sends up a shoot, then another one, one of which will become the main branch, others will start then be overtaken by a newer one. We need to be like the plant, and just make new buds, some will develop into a structure that benefits not only ourselves, but other beings, yet others will just become a leaf, and no more. It is the same with the little changes we make, some will grow into mighty works, well others are but a tiny start that doesn’t go further. Accept that not all the changes you do will be monumental, but accept that all of them will add to who you will become.

For illustration and inspiration, I’ll share a recent change I made. Here in Vancouver we have a fair number of homeless people, some have come here from other parts of Canada or the world because of our mild climate. It is easy to walk past and ignore them. Yet they are beings like ourselves, looking to be happy. I have written in the past about not giving them money, for if they use the money on something harmful to themselves, I have broken the precept about not doing harm to another being. I have started carrying a can of V8 vegetable cocktail with me some days. A 355ml can has a fair amount of nutrition, about 3 servings of vegetables and not filled with empty calories from added sugar. I will at some point give the can of V8 to a person looking for help, realizing there is a small chance they will attempt to sell it instead. However after having given 24 cans away over just over 1 month, 17 were opened and consumed by the person I gave it to.

I wrote about making one change per month in our lives a little while ago, as we need time to make changes in our routines permanent. Since I started that one, I recently added being observant about the people I pass on the streets, if they look lost, I will ask if they need directions. A few have been tourists, another was an elderly gentleman who it turned out was looking for an address that was part of a larger building, he was having trouble as he had forgotten his glasses that morning. My point is that not all our acts have to be ones that change society, for the people we help, it has made a difference, now imagine if everyone did one more act of kindness everyday. To borrow a line from a Ray Charles song; “What a wonderful world it would be.”

related posts:

https://keiththegreen.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/lighten-up/ the start of this series.

https://keiththegreen.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/more-on-the-buddha-and-prosperity/ more on wholesome changes

https://keiththegreen.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/yesterday-i-men/ more about making 1 change per month


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7 thoughts on “Lighten up, A new beginning

  1. I appreciate the need for mindulness of our actions as well as our thoughts. In the course of a day I’d like to believe that all of us exercise kindness towards others in one way or another. Perhaps if we noticed what we were doing, we would be self-motivated to do more. I know I would. Thanks Keith, I appreciated this post a lot..

  2. Yes Keith, yes. “My point is that not all our acts have to be ones that change society, for the people we help, it has made a difference, now imagine if everyone did one more act of kindness everyday.”

  3. Pingback: 5:30am & inspired… – Lead.Learn.Live.

  4. Keith, I’m inspired by your posts and your writing. I’ve nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award at http://davidkanigan.com/2012/09/05/530am-inspired. Whether you choose to pass it on or not is your call. Just wanted you to know your work is admired and appreciated.

  5. Pingback: Weekly Writing Challenge: Wrap It Up « A Western Buddhist's Travels

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