To live a spiritual life, you live a spiritual life. Spirituality fills your whole life, not just the spiritual parts of your life. If you have a glass of water, you have a whole glass of water. Your water does not become cranberry juice, then water again when it suits it. This is why when you sit in meditation, you are one way and when you sit in traffic, you are the same. You may think that when you meditate you are spiritual and when you go to work, you are different. If you are spiritual, you are spiritual at home, at play and at work.
There is no difference in you as you dance under the full moon, or get up and go to your classes. There is no difference between you when you sit in meditation, when you do the dishes, or when you watch a movie. You may want to speed through doing the dishes so that you can watch your movie. Then, when you finish watching the movie, you may decide that you’ll skip meditation because you are too tired. Each of these activities is just as spiritual as the next, you don’t need to rush through anything, to get to anything else. If you skip meditation, the movie, or the dishes, you are no more or less spiritual.
If you notice yourself rushing through something to get to something else, you can slow down and focus on what you are doing. If you think that somethings that you do are spiritual and other things that you do are not, then you are limiting your spirit. The times you want to rush through are excellent opportunities for spiritual growth. Give yourself time to do what you are doing. That is where you live. That is where you live spiritually.
If you are going to think about yourself, you should think nice things. You are the only you that you have. You really do love you deeply, so you should treat yourself well. If you think that you don’t love yourself, you should give away all you belongings. If feel like you want to keep your belongings, then you must really love yourself because you want to give yourself everything you have.
Now that you know you love yourself, your need to be kind to yourself. You can no longer afford to think bad things about yourself. It turns out you hear everything you think. You tend to believe a lot of what you think, so if you believe all those bad things you think about yourself, that is no way to treat somebody you love. It is not that you are not lovable, it is that you are not good at showing your love. There’s no shame in recognizing you have been treating the person you love badly. The shame comes if you continue to do it after you realize it. Show yourself love.
Don’t feel bad if it takes you some time to start being nice to yourself. You start with forgiveness. Give yourself a break for all the hard times you’ve given yourself. Apologize to yourself, then accept your apology and forgive yourself. That gives you a fresh start. Anytime you notice one of your possessions that you don’t want to give away, you renew your vow of love for yourself. It is really beautiful to see how much you love you. Congratulations.
Touch your face. There your are. Touch the floor. There you are. Go outside and look out at the sky. There you are. Finding yourself is easy. Living with yourself can be harder. Living is hard because you have this idea of yourself that is causing you distress. To eliminate your distress, you need to recognize your True Self. Your True Self is somewhere between your face and the sky. If the sky is beautiful, how could your face be otherwise?
Negative thoughts are thoughts about how bad things are. If you entertain negative thoughts, you may think there is something horribly wrong with you. The way to counteract negative thoughts is to pay attention to them. Pay attention to all of your thoughts. When you pay attention to your thinking, you will notice each time you have a negative thought. The trick in counteracting a negative thought is not to judge it. If you are feeling bad because of your habit of coughing up negative thoughts, then the last thing you need to do is start criticizing yourself for your negativity. That just adds more negative thoughts.
You also don’t want to try to counteract negative thoughts with positive thoughts. If you are not feeling positive about things, then don’t pretend that you are. If you try to do that, your negative thoughts are going to mock you for acting so positive. To counteract your negative thoughts with positive thoughts, turn to logic. For example, if you think that nobody loves you, then refute that thought by thinking about people who love you. Also, thinking about people who loves you makes you feel nice.
You don’t need to argue with all of your negative thoughts, you just have to notice them. Notice when you judge people. Notice when you judge yourself. Notice when you predict that something bad will happen. Notice when you worry. Each time you notice that kind of thought, remind yourself that you are thinking again. Check in with your breath. Inhale deeply and exhale. Wait for the next thought.
If you don’t buy into your negative thoughts, and assume that they are the truth, they will occur less often. Negative thoughts follow negative moods. When you practice noticing your thoughts, your moods will improve and the negative thoughts will stop coming as often. When you take a break from negative thoughts, you will feel good. When you have no thoughts at all, you will feel. Amazing.
If you look to your scale for affirmation, you can use that moment to become mindful. The number on the scale represents both your body’s and your mind’s relation to gravity. If your weight makes you feel bad, be mindful of feeling bad and remind yourself that you are not what you think. Use that moment, to see your thought, breathe deeply and be the universe. The universe as big as it is, weighs nothing. Use the numbers on your scale to remind you that you are perfect.
Once you get good at reminding yourself that you are perfect whenever you step on a scale, then you can expand your practice and remind yourself that you are perfect whenever you see a number anywhere. If you see a number on a speed limit sign, or a house number, or a clock, that is a good time to be mindful and remind yourself you are perfect.
When you wake up in the morning start working on waking up. No matter what your body weighs, your mind is light.
One reason people think Buddhists are crazy is because they teach that there is no self. One reason Buddhists think people are crazy is because they think they have a self. Buddhists go so far as to say that this idea of a separate self is the root of suffering. They are so bold as to call this sense of a separate self ignorance.
To test the Buddhist theory and see if you actually have a separate self, then try to cut yourself off. If you try to be a separate self without air, you won’t be a self for long. If you lose the Sun, you will freeze in short time. If you do without the Earth, well, again, not much self to be. You can’t be you without all the people around you. At least you need a mother, father and ancestors back to the beginning of time. So your separate self is not so separate, but it is still a self.
The self in your body is harder to refute. It is what feels all the pain. It is what gets happy and sad. It grows old. It gets sick. It gets tired. It gets hungry. It falls in love. It dances. It was born and it will die. That self has experience after experience and all those experiences strung together reinforce the idea of a self. That idea of self gets lonely, because it feels separate. Not only is that self not separate, it is not. There’s no need to feel lonely. Crazy Buddha.
When you love your enemy, you are not trying to change your enemy into something other than your enemy. When you love your enemy, you stop having an enemy. When you love your enemy, you love yourself.
If you think you have an enemy in another person, then you are barking at a mirror. Your enemy is not another person, your enemy is your hate, fear and anger. It is hard to love your hate, fear and anger, but if you love, and love, your hate, fear and anger can’t survive.
Your hate, fear and anger are lovable as they teach you how to reflect on your experience. They make you feel so uncomfortable that they make you search for their root cause. You can love them for that. If you think you have enemies, whether in you acquaintances or in your emotions, practice love.
Buddhism is great with forgiveness. When striving for perfection, it is understood that there will be setbacks. That is why an enlightened monk has many patches on his robe. You don’t get to enlightenment without making many mistakes. When your robe gets worn you add a patch.
Perfection is not doing everything just right, it is just being you. There is nothing you can be other than what you are. Each of your problems is your teacher. The more problems you encounter the wiser you become. When you have enough problems you realize that they are not your problems, they are just problems. You are you, perfect with all your patches.
The first step in getting better is admitting you have a problem. The last step in awakening is recognizing that you don’t have a problem. We put such a high value on being right and knowledgable, that we miss the joy available to us in the unknown. When we admit all that we don’t know, and see that much of what we know may be wrong, we are free to experience the world from a fresh perspective. We can trust our experience instead of our thoughts.
When habitual beliefs are turned upside down, we can replace them with the idea that our most basic experience is infused with joy. We know that is true, because we have experienced this joy throughout our lives. When we imagine that we are deluded and we believe that our foundation is joy, then when we are feeling sad or anxious we will not fall into thinking, I’m so sad, but wonder, what is this sadness?
When we recognize that we are generally deluded, the delusion does not go away, it just tries to blend in. We have to be alert for it as it sucks us into our place in the drama around us. When we learn to see how we are deluded, we will come to see our perfection.
It is not always so easy to be happy, but no matter what your situation is, happiness is possible. Whatever your circumstance, there is happiness close at hand. Without breaking a sweat, you could think of ten things that make you happy. If you are feeling sad, or anxious, you may not be ready to feel happy now. What is preventing you from being happy is how you are thinking about things, not what is happening. If you think that there is something about you that is preventing you from being happy, then you need to change your thinking. If you think there is something, or somebody, you need to make you happy, then when you get it, the happiness will be temporary. Happiness and joy-of-life is your basic state. It is there beneath your thinking. You miss it when you look for it in activities and events outside of yourself. True happiness is in you. If you look for it, you will notice it. Look for it like a lost treasure.