Friday, March 04, 2016

What, At This Moment, Is Lacking?

Two thoughts cannot coexist at the same time: if the clear light of mindfulness is present, there is no room for mental twilight”.
-Nyanaponika Therea
I once read that if you don’t intentionally think positive thoughts your mind will automatically default to negative thoughts.  You can’t think two thoughts at the same time.  You can only move from one to another.  Depending on where you are, this movement is either going in the right direction or the wrong direction.  It is a challenge to be positive all the time.  Every generation feels like the world is going to hell in a hand basket.  The nightly news is almost always depressing except for the feel good story at the end.  How does one counteract the world’s craziness, or even the craziness of your own life?  I know I must sound like a broken record but I think you can only stay sane by living in the moment, appreciating what is good in your life, and being grateful for what is not in your life.  In a deep conversation I once had with a co-worker, he told me that his response to many arguments and political disagreements, is “What have you lost”?  A Chinese philosopher named Lin-Chi once asked, “What, at this moment, is lacking”?  When you ask most people, who feel threatened by perceived changes, what they have really lost, the answer is usually nothing.  When you ask most people what truly essential things are missing in their life, the answer is often nothing.  Perception and reality are rarely the same and there is often a big gap between what people need and what they want.  There are people who don’t have the most basic needs to sustain life.  However, most people, at least in this country, do have their basic needs met.  What is missing for many is a sense of spiritual and emotional well-being.  You can be well fed but starved for love.  What is ironic is that many people with the least amount of money or material goods are often the happiness people.  If you only have room for one thought, think about that.    

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