A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Archive for the tag “present”

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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The time is now..

Todays post is a result of seeing a friend for the first time the other day, since before Christmas. He has lost about 25 lbs in that time, and been in the hospital, where he has been told to prepare to die within the next few months. Mel is still walking around smiling, seeing those friends he can, while he waits a transfer to a hospice. I have spent some time talking to him, and while he talks about the past including things he wishes had gone differently, he isn’t stuck on the past. Rather he has the attitude, of what can I get done today? He has gone out and tried some ethnic foods, that he never tasted before. He saw the Hobbit in 3D, just so he could experience the new 3D, as the last time was many years ago when you got the disposable anaglyph glasses, with the two different colored lenses. He is getting his will finalized, and contacting those he wishes to see once more. He has accepted death, and now wants to make the most of what life he has left. I asked him what he would tell anyone who wasn’t living under a known shorter lifespan. He answered with four words; “Live in the present!” So in honor of his advice, I will write something about living in the present.

If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future.

If you are at peace you are living in the present.

Laozi (Lao Tzu) wrote these words almost 2400 years ago, and they still have just a much meaning today as when he said them. How often do we spend time reminiscing about what ifs? If we had done, this or not done that, all the while it is those choices that have made us who we are today. If you spend all your time working towards a raise, getting that bigger house, what will you miss? My parents were both working while I grew up, yet they made sure at least one of them was always at my special events, games, school functions. They did their best to see they both had the opportunity to be at these functions.

If your a student who waits till the last minute to write the paper, or study for the exam, you probably suffer from anxiety. Perhaps learning to schedule some study time on a daily basis, would allow you to study in the present, and avoid the anxiety of the future. If your working, and find your mornings rushed, choose your wardrobe the night before, make your lunch in advance(it’s healthier than most restaurant meals), and leave a few minutes earlier, the traffic won’t drive you crazy as easily. Also worrying constantly about things beyond our control, robs us of the wonderous gifts we have right now. Worrying about the day when you daughter first starts to date, when she hasn’t finished being potty trained, will probably lead to a bigger mess, than if you put all your attention to changing her diaper. The present is when we can carry out things, so why not make the most of each moment.

The Buddha taught us, we are to be mindful of our thoughts, speech, and actions and to live in the present. The more we are in the present, the more we are aware of what we say and do that affects other beings. By being mindful, we eliminate more incidents that cause suffering to others, and ourselves. So when your reading the blog, do so with all your attention, not thinking of what’s for lunch, or wondering what’s on sale at the midnight sale. When spending time with your family or friends, give them you full attention, and if you find your mind wandering, draw it back to the present. If you have children, or are planning on it, memories such as their first word, first step, first time they ride a bike with out training wheels, or someone holding the back of the bike seat, are memories that only happen once. Talking to your spouse, actually listen, and as a lady once told me, they don’t expect us guys to fix everything, sometimes all they want is for us to listen, to know we are there with them, right then and there.

In the military or in business, it’s not about having all the information to make a decision. It’s about having enough facts to make an informed decision, then actually making the decision that makes you a leader. The same applies to our daily lives, whether it’s buying a new cell phone, or what color to paint the kitchen walls, these don’t require as much thought as who we will marry. So don’t spend all your time today thinking, you get a lot more done just doing. If you get into getting things done, you might even find some time to take a few hings off your bucket list, while you still have time. If you make a mistake on occasion, don’t waste more time beating yourself up over it, just fix it and move on. Wasting time berating yourself, means you are compounding the original mistake.There is a saying that time and money are two things that should not be wasted.

So live in the moment, and you will be less stressed, and have more happy memories, and those around you will enjoy your companionship more too.

Daily Prompt: Just a Dream

You’re having a nightmare, and have to choose between three doors. Pick one, and tell us about what you find on the other side.

As I grew up with Christianity and Buddhism, I will borrow from the story of Scrooge to weave this dream

I find myself confronted by Mara. In Buddhism Mara is the Lord of bad fortune, sins, desires. Mara is the master of want and death, the two evils that chains man to the wheel of ceaseless rebirth. Mara reviled man, blinds him, uses sensuous
desires to tempt man, and once man is in his bondage, Mara is free to destroy him. After many temptations, which I barely resist, he gives me a choice of three doors.

The first door is the door to my past, where he will grant me one change to anything in the past, I would have happen differently, than this present has it as. Perhaps, he says my first marriage would still be intact. Or one of my friends who passed away, could still be alive. Yet another possibility, is one of the decisions I made, could be reversed, meaning I wouldn’t be where I am today, but in some exotic location.

The second door he offers, is to my future. Yet what he shows isn’t my future, rather just one possible chain of events, and outcomes from my choices to events that haven’t occurred. I could be a famous best-selling author, with my books in demand, turned into blockbuster after blockbuster. While I live on a tropical beach, with the most beautiful woman I have ever met.

The third door, he says is back to the present, with all the pain and challenges of my life. Mara says surely you don’t want to go back to this? You have suffered, and will continue to suffer on this path. Surely you want, something more pleasing, satisfying, and rewarding.

As I reach for the door handle, I awake, still here in the present.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/daily-prompt-nightmare/

Some of my friends bad dreams;

http://natalieelizabethbeech.com/2012/12/20/just-a-nightmare/

http://renatovasconcellosdavid.com/2012/12/20/just-a-dream/

http://hopethehappyhugger.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/just-a-dream/

http://theeclecticeccentricshopaholic.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/daily-prompt-just-a-dream/

http://hastywords.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/the-devils-doors/

http://thematticuskingdom.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/daily-prompt-just-another-door-dream/

http://angloswiss.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/daily-prompt-just-a-dream/

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