Monday, February 16, 2009

How Does a Microwave Work?

When I put a cup of water for my tea in the microwave, I press a few buttons to set the time, hit start and before I know it… hot water. I cannot think of a time when I stood waiting and pondered just how the energy waves interacted with the water to create heat. I just accept that the microwave works.

We rarely look at life like this way. We look for reasons behind the most trivial things. Why did they say that? What did they mean by that? Why is the world such a painful place? We dissect and ponder, looking for hidden meanings of things or in the words and actions of others.

On the emotional level, the human mind has trouble accepting things as the way they are. We want life to conform to our needs. We want others to change, making them more acceptable to the way we think they should be. We may spend years waiting, as a song says, for the world to change, believing that it is just a matter of time.

The answer does not lie in knowing why the world is as it is. Peace comes from accepting that there are things we cannot change. This knowledge leads us directly to the present moment, the only time we have full control over who we are. In this moment we can decide how to look at things, how to react, and whether we are compassionate to ourselves and others.

We are only here for a short ride. Accept the things you cannot change. Make the most of the present moment as this is where your life is right now. You will never have a better past. The future is yet unwritten. You can choose whether to fret over what made the water hot or you can just enjoy your tea.

23 comments:

Julie P said...

Very true. There are just some things in life that we can't change and we waste so much valuable time and energy in trying to change these things and driving ourselves to distraction with the whys and hows, it's a total waste! We have to accept that there are bad and unpleasant things that happen in the world and we are just a small part of that world. You can't change some people who are hell bent on hurting others. I think as long as you live your life with respect for others then you hopefully lead by example. I don't know.

Dale Rogers said...

This is so very true, there are a couple of people around me that are just plain awful. They need a reality check on how to act towards the living. These two are part of my family and no I can not change them even though I wish I could. I love them but it dosent mean I have to like them. So often I think family members give up on each other just because one person didnt act accordingly. Family is family and we should be there for each other. Now there are some very destructive personalities out there and if those people are bringing you down, then yes distance yourself from them. I can not change my two family members and I have to accept that because above all the BS I still love them. "God grant me strength to change the things I can, and grant me serenity to accept the things I cant."

Lee Ann / Living Introverted said...

I needed to read this today - you have noooo idea how badly! Thanks for pointing out that we can choose to peacefully accept each moment in it's own perfection (even if there is a tinge of pain to it). In fact, that's the only sensible choice to make.

This post connects to your "If Only..." post, too. Thanks for these thoughts. Your timing is excellent!

Jaye said...

Thank you for another calming, serene look on life - good timing for me too :)

Gwynn said...

In addition to dissecting and pondering we also have a tendency to want to label and categorize. This leads us to believing we understand and know something.

For example, we can label the photo of the sunset as pretty, calm, see the still water, notice the trees, notice the clouds and that's it. Our eye flutters around the image and once we've looked at it for a second or two we think we know it.

But to actually look at the picture without trying to label it. To look at it without any words forming in your mind leads you to such a different experience. You somehow connect with it in such a different way. It gives you a glimmer of truly being present.

David said...

Dear Roger,
Thought I would repay the compliment of you visiting my site by me visiting yours.
What you say seems like good advice to me. Indeed, we are often told as mental health service users that concentrating on the present is very important. To get lost in the moment would seem to be the time when we are at our happiest, rather than getting bogged down by the worries of the past or uncertainty of the future.
As a Buddhist, I don't know how you feel about a quote from the Bible, but I believe it goes something like, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom, always, to know the difference".
Thankyou for a thought-provoking blog.
Yours Sincerely,
David.

The Buddhist Conservative said...

Thanks everyone for the comments.

This has been a great experience so far, more so through reading many of your inspiring writings.

Namaste

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

What a thought provoking post.....I need quick reads such as this to put me in my place sometimes.

It also got me thinking about this statement "We want life to conform to our needs." Sometimes, I think it can....and does!

The Bold Life said...

Simple but not easy! Most of lifes pain comes from not accepting others as they are.

Kimberly Drever said...

There are many different phrases that struck me when reading your post and then reading the comments that followed (some taken out of context, but still in the overall scheme of things in alignment with what you had to say):

• I just accept
• the human mind has trouble accepting things as the way they are
• We have to accept that there are bad and unpleasant things that happen in the world and we are just a small part of that world
• I can not change my two family members and I have to accept that
• In addition to dissecting and pondering we also have a tendency to want to label and categorize.

The human mind is so busy… busy busy busy constantly thinking, evaluating, judging, creating labels for this and that. Part of accepting is to remove labels and judgments as if something is either positive or negative… things just are… It is our response (thoughts, beliefs, emotions, actions) that affects our personal experience and what we take out of it and give to others.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’ve found your posts and comments refreshing and enlightening.

Amanda Linehan said...

The more that we can accept, the less energy we will expend on things we have no control over. In some ways, this goes against many of our cultural instincts (to always act upon the world, not have it act upon us), but if we do all we can do then we can leave the rest up to the Universe! Thanks for this post.

Teresa Silverthorn said...

I'm just learning how to live "in the moment" and it's giving me no end of comfort.

Good article! :)

Paul Maurice Martin said...

Noticing one's reactions seems to be the essence of "mindfulness." So simple sounding but not so easy to do. And an amazingly powerful tool if used consistently.

Sagan said...

Beautifully written and well worth thinking about. It's important to accept these things to be able to live our lives and grow.

Hazelmarie 'Mattie' Elliott said...

We are of the same mind, Roger. I think you have brilliantly written what lives within my own heart.

Accepting what cannot be changed, and progressing with those things that can be altered will lead us to a greater sense of fulfillment...a greater sense of inner peace.

Just wonderful work with this post.(smile) I enjoyed it immensely...Mattie

Brenda Lorene said...

Very well stated with a very effective comparison made, Roger. I do believe there is always room for improvement in our own selves; but too many people believe they can literally change the world and those around them by their actions. Often, as a result, they impose their beliefs on others for that reason. I find that rather arrogant. Excellent advice, and as always, you make me ponder my own realities.

joeshico said...

If these are are all your writings, you are a very wise man. I will read one each evening with a nice glass of DaVinci 2006 and sleep well.

zenstorming said...

As I read this and got to the last line I literally gone done sipping the last bit of white tea from my cup.

enjoy the tea--yes!

Thank you for the wisdom!
~peace~

The Buddhist Conservative said...

I appreciate the comments. As we travel through this life I believe that the best thing we can do is to stop pondering all the trivial things that distract us from our journey.

Writing this blog and reading the inspirational thoughts on all of yours has been a great source of joy for me.

May we all just enjoy our tea.

Namaste,
Roger

klahanie said...

Hi Roger,

Another thought provoking blog. However, I must say that I do not want life to conform to my needs. I would rather that all needs are intertwined through the power of understanding.
I attempt to live my life with realistic positive anticipation rather than negative speculation. I live in the 'now' and now I will have a cup of tea.
So glad to see you are getting a lot of folks reading your blog Roger. I think of you as an intergral link in what we call an 'empathetic community'.
Thanks for your wonderful comment on my latest blog. It is greatly appreciated.
Positive wishes, Gary.

Gopal G (Gkannan) said...

Wonderful repetition of an age-old truth,but rarely do people on this earth follow. We all tend to forget that life here is short, that we should do something good or at least refrain from doing harm or thinking negative. Inner peace has to be cultivated. Wrong and negative actions can never bring inner peace. Refrain from eveil thought.

Would like you to be my follower.

LLnL said...

I should refer to this post often. I feel like i have learned this lesson a couple of years ago but I forget it when I get frustrated.

I love your writing style. I enjoy this blog a lot.

Cindy said...

I really think our minds can be our greatest enemy sometimes... sometimes "why?" will keep you up at night when it's just so much simple to smile and go to sleep. I know I'm guilty of it!