Sunday, July 11, 2010

Looking for weeds in a meadow of wildflowers

So often in life we are distracted by our situation or mood that we forget to see what is most important. During these times we fail to see all the good things around us, focusing on typically insignificant negatives that have little to do with the facts of the situation at hand. "We find ourselves searching for weeds in a meadow of wildflowers".

Rather than look at the beauty around us, we allow ourselves to focus on a single negative aspect thereby identifying a situation in a narrow perspective leading to an overshadowing of positive thought. All of us have been guilty of this at one time or another as it is a part of human nature.

Think for a moment about what it would be like if we could redirect these thoughts back to the flowing green grasses and flowers of the meadow. The process is simple yet somewhat difficult when our mind wants to focus on finding the negative weeds of the situation. The challenge is to just stop and give ourselves that little moment to take in the beauty around us rather than allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with the insignificant details.

It has been some time since I have attended to this blog. My current work has found me immersed in a world that makes it difficult to maintain a positive perspective. It is only by coming back to the image of the meadow that reminds me that many of the details of thought have little to do with the bigger picture.

While I know that the work I am doing is important, it has led me into many discomforting situations surrounded with thundering negativity making it difficult at times to maintain a healthy perspective. After months of pushing myself, I took a much needed day off to spend a little time hiking in the mountains. Cresting a ridge to find the meadow in the picture was a gift as it clarified this concept that has troubled the back of my mind for some time. That is, our stress often has much more to do with our focus on detail than the reality of a given situation.

My sincere hope is that each of us will keep the image of the meadow available when our world seems to be overrun with weeds. It is said that the devil is in the details and when it comes to our focus, it really is.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Letting go of control (repost)

There are relatively very few things outside of ourselves that we have control over, yet we spend enormous amounts of emotional capital on things we cannot change. If we look closely we may find that this is nothing more than a way we distract ourselves from being present. By transmitting our energy onto something or someone else we push our minds away from whatever emotion we are feeling in the present moment.

Focusing on controlling the actions and thoughts of others moves us away from dealing with our own issues. We make the excuse, "I will deal with my problems once I fix theirs". In the end, this thinking comes with the risk of doing more harm to both ourselves and those we are focused on.

Much of the Buddhist practice is centered on letting go of the hindrances our minds cling to. Letting go of control is one of the most difficult tasks most practitioners face. We think we feel safe when we are in control yet the truth is that when we are controlling, pain and conflict are never far away.

Learn to let go. Peace comes from learning that we not only cannot control all the things and people around us, but also in the understanding that we do not need to. Next time you feel the urge to control someone, stop yourself and just observe. See what happens when you just let things happen.

As you practice letting go of control, you will start to realize how unimportant much of what has happened in the past really is. The things you held onto so tightly will reveal themselves as nothing more than stories built within our own mind. We will enjoy better relationships with all that is around us, letting us focus in the present moment where all happiness lives.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Moments that shape us

Life is an interesting thing. From the moment we are born, events and experiences begin to shape us.

Since I was born at a very young age, I don’t remember much about the first few years although I am sure that this was a time of great change. Then and since, all my experiences have made me what I am today. What I experience today will make me what I am tomorrow.

Every joy, every sorrow, manipulates our brain cells, altering our outlooks and aspirations both for the better or the worse. While we can control to a degree how we choose to look at things, we can not escape the fact that we have changed.

I will be a different person, albeit slightly, when I finish writing this post. You will be a different person by the time you finish reading it. While I do not expect my words to dramatically alter your life, the simple fact that you are reading this means your brain is processing thoughts through chemical rearrangement.

Most of us can think back to our early years and beyond, remembering our life changing experiences. Traumas, successes, and failures place their indelible marks on our psyche changing each of us as we travel down the path of life.

For us to find peace, we need to leave the past in the past but sometimes it helps if we take a moment to understand how we ended up where we are.

Understanding that some events were not in our control and others were, can illuminate the reality of life allowing us to learn from both our successes and mistakes, helping us to forgive ourselves and others who may have unintentionally hurt us.

Let us understand that we are the product of our past but in no way is this the sum of our future. We can not stop ourselves from changing, only make the best choices we can to make changes for the better.