|Humor Alert! The following meditation contains humor
and a naughty word.
Do not be alarmed. Everything will return to normal next week.
John Lee Hooker
A. E. Newman
Sometimes it feels like everything is wearing out. Once an amazing piece of technology, the printer no longer prints. The hard drive barely drives. The watch stops. The Plumber says the sewer line has broken down and needs to be replaced. The doctor says "you aint no kid anymore." That thing you always used to do? You can't do it anymore. The parents of your friends and then your friends show up in the obituaries. It's winter time and nothing seems to be growing, except mud. Decay seems to be winning the day.
In frustration, you consult the great sages, pour over the texts of ancient wisdom looking for an answer, looking for hope. What do they say?
Point # 1: "Shit happens."
Point # B: "Get over it."
Some of the ancient texts go into considerable detail explicating these points. It's easy to get lost in the detail. But essentially we must come to terms with the fact that nothing is permanent. Whatever you have will go away. Whatever you think you are is illusion. You may as well accept the facts. Worrying about it or getting mad because it's not fair won't help your cause. You can't stop the wheels from turning.
How does one get over it? Or putting it another way, how does one attain liberation from suffering? Uh, its a secret. No, just kidding. Different traditions point to different ways to attain release. Typically, they tell us something like:
B1) "Sit down and shut up."
Most wisdom traditions suggest getting to know your inner world. Be quiet so you can see beyond the mental clutter we all accumulate. Still your mind so that you can see your true nature. (Hint: your true nature is not a separate entity. You are not alone in this predicament of life).
B2) "Do the right thing."
In order to minimize the bad stuff in life we need to live in a certain way. We must do the right thing. That means we must strive to use our minds correctly, and we must behave ethically. Paraphrasing Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan, the spiritual warrior must live impeccably. This doesn't mean you can avoid pain and suffering, but you can reduce your tendency to create them.
B3) "All you need is love."
When you have calmed your mind, looked deeply inward, and noticed your connection with all beings, a natural compassion develops. Love for others is a natural response to the mystical experience. It is also the answer to pretty much whatever ails you. It is not only the key to happiness it is a prerequisite for a deep spiritual life.
Begin by relaxing yourself and stilling your mind. Let go of your mind talk and just be present with your breathing.
Now, examine your beliefs about why so much in life is unsatisfactory. Did you expect life to be fair? Do you let misfortune make you angry? See if you can let go a little. Create the intention that you will let things happen without your judgment of their rightness or wrongness. See if you can identify a good result (even a small one) from each bad event you encounter.
Set the intention to live a life of impeccable behavior. When you prepare to fib a little or take something that is not yours, ask yourself, "Is this impeccable honesty?"
Practice opening your heart to others. Remind yourself that as Thomas `a Kempis said, "Be assured that if you knew all, you would pardon all."
© 1998-2002 Tom Barrett