The greatest lesson I have learnt from the Buddhists (..no am not a Buddhist myself) is this:
“At the heart of all suffering and pain is desire“.
After meditating and pondering this for almost four years I have also found by experience its complement, which I state as:
“All the suffering or pain in our lives comes from either desire, or its close cousin … aversion”
Yeah like someone said …”screwed if you do, screwed if you don’t” ie when you desire something and don’t get it … the result is suffering or pain. On the other hand, when you are averse to something and it does happen, you get the same pain and suffering.
A similar dynamic plays out in our relationship with time … for most of us, we go from worrying about the future (either that we won’t get something owe desire or something we are averse to will happen) to reminiscing the past (for the good things that did happen) or regretting it (for the bad ones that did happen)
Well if we think of it …either one of those mindsets is only bound to bring us pain. Not that it isn’t a good thing to think of good times though, sometimes I find myself in strange places amongst strangers that the only thing I summon to keep my spirits high is the image of Perpetua’s smile.
Of recent, I have caught myself in that dangerous mode … specifically trying to sustain dead or dying friendships, conjuring up to the present a past that once was great but is no more. I remember in my dark days I used to have a policy of going through my phone to DELETE the number of anyone I had called thrice who had never called me back. Back then, the motivating feeling was anger … but now that I have resumed that practice, it’s one of detachment, letting go. I still care about those people, after all they were once great parts of my life …but I choose to let them be, with their new friends and priorities and I ACCEPT THAT I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE PRIORITIES.
So if we should not desire or be averse, what then should we be? … The answer for me has been to SAVOUR the moment. This moment right here, devoid of all my desires and aversions that are yet to materialize, this moment is the ONLY thing I have any real experience and claim to. An by being mindful, I choose to live and savour it by…
- Letting the act of kindness happening in front of me fill my heart with love and my brain with serotonin.
- Counting each of the lavenders, bougainvilleas, wild tomatoes and lemon grass blades that smile and sing to me as I jog in the morning.
- Letting the glorious melodies and lyrics of whatever song I am listening to lift my spirits.
- Reveling in and bursting with admiration for the creativity in the painting, the movie , the dance, the football moves et ..
And with all that I hope that by not clinging to the past or the future, I will not ruin the great present of the present moment which I have NOW.