A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

That’s the way it should be

That’s the way it should be, how often do we use these words throughout our lives?

A parent loses a child, and you will hear That’s not the way it should be. As parents we expect our children to outlive us, and when it doesn’t happen we are devastated. We may have plans for our children, we want them to grow up to be doctor’s engineers or lawyers and such. They will choose something they think suits them, but we want the best for them, because that’s the way it should be.

When we find that person, who are mind, body and heart says: this is the one, the one I can say to my parents my friends, this is the one. You get married, and expect to live together through sickness, health, hard times and good times. We expect this, because that’s the way it should be.

At work, the company has an important contract, and everyone pitches in. Those who excel and help make the company a success are rewarded with promotions, stock options, and recognition, because that’s the way it should be.

There are many other times we use those words, they all share something in common with the three examples I just mentioned. We assume that D follows C, as surely as C followed B which followed A. We expect things to go in a certain direction, or to stay on a path the way we see it. This is one way we cause unnecessary suffering for ourselves. Instead of living in the present, we forget the lessons life has taught us, and we expect the future to be perfect. Perfect according to how we envision the future. When we do this we don’t foresee, the car accident, the co-worker who takes credit for others work, or the insecurities of the person we choose as a partner, leading them to leave for someone they see as better.

In even smaller ways, we do the same things. I started to exercise last week with a goal of running a 5km or 10km marathon. I expect that I’ll do it. Yet I might have an undiagnosed condition, or I might trip, or slip and fall, breaking or twisting a leg. Bad weather could cancel the race, or I might have a family emergency come up. How many of us, have recently got a new client, or more responsibility at work? The last time you got a new client, or added responsibility at work, what were your thoughts, about the extra work required, or about the potential reward that this offered? It’s natural to think, about what is in it for us, because that’s the way it should be according to modern society.

Your at that fancy restaurant, everyone is talking about. You order and to your disappointment, the meal doesn’t wow, you. Perhaps the chef was sick that day, and his replacement didn’t have the same skills. When we go to a highly recommended restaurant we expect a good meal, because that’s the way it should be.

“One day at a time—this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.”  Ida Scott Taylor

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” The Buddha

The past has already happened, and we don’t have the ability to take back what we have said, done or left unsaid or undone, and that’s the way it should be.

The future is good for making conceptual plans, for dreams to give our aspirations a vision we can strive for, and that’s the way it should be.

The past and the future are concepts in our minds, they only exist as thought. The only time we have is the present, and that’s the way it should be.

What are you doing with your present time, are you making the most of it, because that’s the way it should be.

If you are at home with your children and spouse, are you giving them all of your attention, living in the moment with them, because that’s the way it should be.

If your out having the adventure of a lifetime, are you stopping to enjoy the time, or are you rushing to the next great adventure? Enjoy those breath taking moments, breathe that mountain air, or the fragrance of that rare orchid, because that’s the way it should be.

Live in the moment, because that’s the way it should be.


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