Stop Thinking

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.” ~Lao Tzu

IMG_20150428_143905We live in a beautiful world.  Even the small segment that our senses can take in (smaller still what our minds can comprehend) is beyond what we can express with words.  There are infinite opportunities for joy, yet we use so much of our time fretting over the insignificant; the non-consequential.  We fill our days with worry and busyness, trying to get ahead.  We constantly occupy our minds with television and social media, afraid to sit in silence, and be alone with ourselves.  Trying to drown out and silence the voices of fear, regret, and uncertainty.

Stop worrying.  Stop thinking.  You are on the right path; the only path; your path.  Follow it to the end.  Take care with each step.  Feel each breath.  There is no need for fear.  You are a passenger, an observer.  Enjoy the ride.

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Understanding Our Stories

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you
don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not
doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or
less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have
problems with our friends or family, we blame the other
person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will
grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive
effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason
and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no
reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you
understand, and you show that you understand, you can
love, and the situation will change”

― Thích Nhất Hạnh

There are a lot of things about myself that I would like to change.  My eating habits, my organizational habits, my tendency to put things off, my fear of failure.  I have been going about the process with the idea that I just need more self control, or I just need more grit, or a commitment, or a magic word, or a rubber band around my wrist that I can snap every time I reach for a brownie.  And while these can be good things, they aren’t really working for me.  In fact, they never have.  Why then, would I continue to use methods that do not work?  Because I believe they work.  I have written them into my story.

From the moment we are born, we are writing a story, the story of our perception of reality.  This story covers every aspect of our lives, and answers questions such as “Can people be trusted?”  “Am I worth loving?”  “What is Truth?”  “What is Justice?” or “What will it take to make me happy?”  Most of the important questions are answered before we even know we are asking them.  Each of us has written a unique story, and none of them are perfect reflections of reality.

In the parable of The Blind Men and the Elephant, each man experiences a different part of the elephant, and each man comes away with a different idea of what the elephant is, and what it’s for.  Each man possesses the same amount of truth regarding the elephant, but what they have to gain from each other is perspective.  So it is with our stories.  None is any more or less true than the other.  We do not need to seek truth from others, we have it within ourselves, but what we do need to seek is perspective.  With understanding, and without judgement, there is much that we can learn from our fellow humans, about life, and about ourselves.

But other people are not the only ones who need our understanding.  We need to stop judging and blaming ourselves.  There is a reason for our behavior, and if our behavior needs to change, it is easier done with love and understanding than with any amount of self control.

The Answers Are Within

I accidentally posted this on my other blog yesterday.  So, if you are subscribed to both, you may see it twice.

Sometimes, I get really worked up and worried, and I have to sit myself down, and talk some sense into me (Mostly because no one else will):

“Oh self,” I say, “Oh if only I could be like this person, or that person.”

You don’t need to be like them.  Just be yourself.  There is nothing wrong with that.

“But they have it so easy!”

You don’t know that.  You only know the ease or difficulty of your 0wn life.

“Okay, I guess.  But what am I even doing here?  I need some direction.  I need someone to show me the path.  How do I know if I’m doing whats right?”

The answers are inside of you.  Everything that you seek without and fail to find, is hidden within.  You know what is right, you know what you should be doing, and you do not need the approval or acceptance of anyone else.

“But what if I screw up?  What if I fail?  What if I change my mind?”

Making your own decisions, good or bad, right or wrong, and facing the consequences, is the only way to grow.  It is the only way to find out who you are.  Without failure, and without change, there is no growth, there is no life.

But I’m scared”

That’s okay.  Its part of being human.  acknowledge the fear, and release it.  Then go on doing what you know is right.

I really don’t think I can do this, but I guess I’ll keep trying.”

“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”  ~Lao tzu

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” ~Buddha

“Cherish that which is within you, and shut off that which is without; for much knowledge is a curse.” ~Zhuangzi

Thanks For Adding Your Piece to the Puzzle

scan0002Whoever you are, whatever you are doing, thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  For your successes, for your failures, for your imperfections.  For keeping your cool, for losing your temper, thank you.  Everything you have ever done has helped to bring the world to where it is today.  Everything so far has led up to this moment.  Your joy and your tears.  Your victories and defeats.  Your honesty, your deception, your cold silence, and your mindless chatter.

We all have regrets from the past.  We all have situations that we wish we would have handled differently.  Many of us have grievances we cannot forgive, hurts that will not heal, and events that we wish we could wipe from our memories.  Looking through the history books, we may not ever agree on who was right, and who was wrong, or which pages we would be better off without.  But can we agree that life is precious?  That existence is unspeakably astounding, and that this moment, this very moment, is beautiful?  All of those events and situations, no matter what we think of them, are a part of life.  They all had a hand in bringing about this beautiful moment, and I think they at least deserve our acceptance, if not our appreciation.  Thank you.

Dealing With People

It can be quite frustrating, dealing with people.  Spouses, children, neighbors, co-workers, friends, and strangers.  And now, with the power of the internet, and social media, we can be frustrated remotely.  People, with their wily ways can cause a lot of angst, irritation, and rage.

It is important to remember, that we are all different.  Not everyone has the same tools in their toolbox, and every single person is doing the absolute as good as they are able with what they have.  Some people are lazy, some people are rude, some people have trouble controlling their anger.  The best thing we can do is to accept people for who they are, and look on them with compassion, understanding, and love.  We may never know what it is like to run in their shoes, but we can know that while their form may not be perfect, they are running the best mile they can.  And that is all we can ask from anyone.