What is the point if we own the world but cannot control ourselves?

I am not sure about you, but I often feel like someone pushed the foot to the floor, on the accelerator metaphorically speaking and the world just gets faster and faster and nobody has a clue how to slow down this huge racing machine we call life. It’s a space that many try to keep up with, consequences often meaning, working longer hours, sleep less, and spend less and less time doings that would be more Life giving. Clearly, fast paced living comes at huge cost to many in first world nations. Specially, the health systems struggle to accommodate so many surgeries, etc. Many of these health issues are due to poor nutrition, stress and sitting too much. You don’t need to look far to find research supporting my claim.

What to do then? Well, praying maybe be a nice sentiment. Nevertheless, you are totally responsible for your lifestyles. You select the pace and things you commit to! You pick out the food you eat, the hours spent are all your responsibilities. How to reduce our suffering? It can seem relentless and once you create a life that is so busy, often you feel like you are on a hamster wheel, clearly things need a revolutionary shift. I love studying and come across gems all the time below is one that certainly helped me and might offer you wisdom too?

‘Yet for suffering to become an effective spur to spiritual awakening it is not enough merely to encounter it. For the religious consciousness to be aroused suffering must be not only met as a constant liability of our existence,but confronted and grappled with in the arena of thematic reflection. As long as we engage suffering simply in its superficial modes, as felt pain and sorrow, we will react to it in one of two ways, both of which operate at a purely psychological level. In the first case we will react to suffering in an unhealthy manner, as when we arouse resentment against the source of our displeasure and seek relief by annihilating it, ignoring it, or running away in pursuit of some easy escape. In the second case we will react to suffering in a mentally healthy way, as when we fortify our minds with patience and courage, strengthen our capacities for endurance, and seek to resolve the problem in a realistic manner. But though the second approach is definitely to be preferred to the first, in neither case does that inward revolution take place which awakens us to our extreme need for deliverance and compels us to set off in a new direction previously unknown and unexplored.’

Buddhist Meditation and Depth Psychology by Douglas M. Burns

People use all sorts of thing to escape the madness they feel. Me included! I am convinced everything we purchase, we hope it provides a little peace and fun. Of course it does, temporarily and then once it becomes normal we look to the next thing. Things, material things offer a peace that’s forever fleeting. So, what am I really saying? Don’t purchase anything? Don’t enjoy you asserts and that you worked hard for? No, that’s absurd unless you are a monastics. I say we need to find a deep inner peace that’s not fleeting. A space inside us, we can nurture so we reduce these cravings for more and more. The more and more mentality offers nothing but misery. Enjoy what we have from a deeper sense of peace is our best goal. Below is some other gem from Burns.

‘Through science, technology, and social organization Western man has built a civilization of unprecedented wealth and grandeur. Yet despite this mastery of his environment, he has given little thought to mastery of himself. In fact, his newly-acquired wealth and leisure have heightened his sensuality and weakened his self-discipline. It becomes increasingly apparent, however, that a stable and prosperous democracy can endure only so long as we have intelligent, self-disciplined, and properly motivated citizens; legislation and education alone will not ensure this. Buddhism presents a technique by which this can be obtained, but the responsibility rests with each individual. No one can cure our neuroses and strengthen our characters except ourselves. In the Sumbha country in the town of Sedaka the Buddha once said: “I shall protect myself,” in that way the foundations of mind fulness should be practiced. “I shall protect others,” in that way the foundations of mindfulness should be practiced. Protecting oneself one protects others; protecting others one protects oneself. And how does one, in protecting oneself, protect others? By the repeated and frequent practice of meditation. And how does one, in protecting others, protect oneself? By patience and forbearance, by a non-violent and harmless life, by loving-kindness and compassion. “I shall protect myself,” in that way the foundations of mindfulness should be practiced. “I shall protect others,” in that way the foundations of mindfulness should be practiced. Protecting oneself, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself.’

Buddhist Meditation and Depth Psychology by Douglas M. Burns

If you think meditation is just another thing in life you need to overcome, please reconsider your motive. It’s not a science we are competitive with or a religious ritual, mystical thing. It’s something we can assess in terms of how our life feels. Even sitting still and doing relaxation breathing exercises helps tremendously. I am a fan of sitting cross legs on a cushion, because of the added health benefits it also extends. Google sitting in ‘Simple Pose’ as the Yoga instructor call it. It’s not simple, please be patient and sensible or you will injure your knees. It’s taken me a long time to get completely comfortable on my cushion. I hope this blog provides some peace and wisdom. Please feel free to comment, email about anything that worries you. Blessings Scott

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