You Don’t Have To Like It

One of the liberating secrets of Zen is that even though everything that matters happens in the present moment,  you don’t always have to like the present moment. If you think that you always have to enjoy the present, you will start kicking yourself every time you are not happy.  When you are not happy, you don’t need to be kicked. That just makes you less happy.

To find liberation through the present moment, you have to experience whatever is happening in the present moment. Buddha made a living pointing out that the present moment is filled with suffering. Nobody likes suffering. That is why it is called suffering. If you liked it, it would be called enjoyment.

When you live mindfully, cultivating peace in your life, you will continue to find opportunities to suffer. You don’t have to paint those moments with pretty thoughts and pretend that because you know that you are one with the universe that nothing can get under your skin. The challenge of mindfulness is to see how it feels to be annoyed, upset, sad, hopeless, angry, bored, or scared. As you practice being mindful through your suffering, you learn to visit with those feelings when they are there, and then escort them right out the door. Happiness will be there when they are gone. That you will like. Suffering, not so much.

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