Monthly Archives: June 2015

What’s Right With You?

We spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out what is wrong with us.  That kind of inquiry should be balanced with asking ourselves what’s right with us.  If you think that nothing is right with you, then you especially need to practice looking. We all do an incredible number of things exceptionally well. We adeptly handle complex electronics, negotiate social relationships, sustain our basic needs and help each other in the process. We love and are loved.

Each one of us has particular areas of interest. We are naturally skilled at exploring those interests. When we align with what is right with us, we find satisfaction in what we do. If we are not finding satisfaction, we may think that there is something wrong with us. What maybe wrong is not knowing what is right.

To look into what is right with you, notice your posture, take in a deep breath and center yourself in the present moment. Ask yourself what is right in your immediate surroundings. Look for beauty. Think of people that you love. Think of kind things you have done. Think of kind things that have been done for you. When you take time to remember and experience what is right with you, you will discover a refreshing sense of peace. That peace is right with you, wherever you are.

spacer

Happiness Is Not Fun

If you are happy, almost everything will be fun. If you are miserable, almost nothing will be fun. Fun and happiness go together, but there is a big difference. The real work of happiness happens between all the fun.

Today’s world offers so many opportunities for fun that it is possible, without taxing our imagination to fill our hours with fun activities. Life gets in the way of that. Some fun activities cost too much money, some fun activities are dangerous, some fun things we do bring us tremendous aggravation. There are other things that we have to do, obligations, like work, or school, that cut into our time for fun. If we think that happiness comes from having fun, we will get into the habit of looking outside of ourselves for fulfillment.

Meditation is not fun. It is funny. It is a strange thing to do, to sit and do nothing but keep you body still as your mind scrambles to find something fun to do. When you notice yourself scrambling for entertaining thoughts and return your attention to your boring breath …in…out…in…out…in…out… you can feel the discomfort.  That is just the beginning. Chances are, when you sit down and start meditating, your mind will start looking around itself for the most disturbing things it can find. It will find fears, sadness, anger, or even traumatic memories. Those are no fun at all. When you notice that happening, return yourself to the your boring breath …in…out…in…out…in…out.. and notice how boring feels safe and soothing compared to the difficult thoughts and emotions.

Your mind doesn’t like holding onto these negative thoughts and memories anymore than you like visiting them. That is why the mind goes there whenever it has the opportunity. There is strong energy that comes from those thoughts and the mind follows the energy. When you visit a negative thought or feeling with your non-judging, compassionate awareness, and life-line of reassuring, stable, boring breath, that thought and feeling becomes manageable. The energy changes. Working with those difficult thoughts is still not fun, but figuring out how to live with them and transform them makes your mind more available to happiness.

Noticing where you are, wherever you are, will help you distinguish happiness from fun. It is important to make time for fun, but when fun is unavailable, that is a good time practice awareness and compassion, opening yourself up to happiness.

spacer

Unframing

Life, as it is, can be overwhelming. It is too much for us to take in, in all its glory. Each raw moment of existence has the capacity to blow us away. Naturally, we want to hold ourselves together, so we break life down into tiny, little, bite-sized pieces. Compared to eternity, the history of life on earth is a tiny little piece. Compared to the far reaches of space, our planet is a tiny little piece. Compared to the multitudes of life forms on earth, human beings are a tiny little piece. Despite all we understand about our actual situation, we don’t feel tiny. We seem huge.

We look at life through frames. Through the frame of our self, we see the universe emanating from us. We can reframe our vision of the universe to imagine ourself as a decentralized part of it. We can put a frame around our life span, a frame around our mind, a frame around our body, frames around the molecules that make up our being and the universe. We get so used to framing things, that we forget we created the edges. We don’t see our framing habit.

When we feel like we have big problems, we frame things with our small self. We can gain perspective on our situation by noticing how we frame our self. We can take away the frame that separates us from everything else by bringing our awareness to our breathing. By returning our attention to the frame of our body, we change our frame of mind. In that moment of awareness, we are no longer something separate. There we can take in life as it is, experiencing our big self. Then we squeeze back into a little frame, so we can deal with our little problems.

spacer