Thursday, February 02, 2012

Joy Happens

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.
-Henry David Thoreau

Recently I have been in a few conversations that were about people, how they act, their attitudes about life, and how so many of us see the same things so differently. I am quickly exhausted by negative and pessimistic people who always see the worst of everything. These people are chronically unhappy and nothing ever seems to give them joy. I am an optimist. I see the glass as not only half full but often overflowing. A pessimist once told me that an optimist is a person out of touch with reality. As I type these words it is February 1st and the current temperature is 64 degrees. The sun is shining brightly. I cannot wait to get out of this office to feel the warmth of the sun on my face while it works in harmony with the cool breezes to create the perfect blend of comfort. Even if I walked out of this building into a wintry day with air that stings and snow on the ground, I would still enjoy it. The weather is what it is and I will breathe it’s air. I know that a lot of life is just trying to survive but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed. The quote above by Thoreau is a very good definition of Zen. Living in the season means being one with it. Whatever the season, it is full of life. Breathe in life. Drink life. Taste it’s fruits. Let the goodness of life permeate your bones. Life does change but that is not necessarily good or bad. Life just is. Our opinions of life are based on personal judgments which can be terribly skewed. Thinking that life is always either good or bad is dualistic thinking. Life is both good and bad. The Zen way, the contemplative way, is to not judge it but to simply be present to it. Often, joy happens.

If you’ve never read Walden Pond by Henry David Thoreau, I highly recommend it.

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