Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The 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, there are no subliminal messages, 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.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Nature's Wonder

Nature is constantly vigilant in her quest to amaze the soul.

I sat for a time this morning gazing to the sky at what started as a thin layer of clouds were pushed together by competing currents of wind rushing over the mountains, forming shapes like I have never seen before.

As the wispy layer coalesced, it became gently twisting ribbons, curling downward into cascading falls of vapor. As they danced across the sky, giant waves appeared as if waiting for someone to ride their thunderous face before crashing on a mythical reef.

Too soon the show was over, leaving forever with me the blessing of being there to witness nature at her finest.

How often do we miss nature’s spectacle simply because we forget to look up?

May we all have the opportunity to allow nature to fill us with wonder as we ride the clouds of our imagination.

Friday, January 2, 2009

What is the Past?

“What is in the past is left in the past. The future is not yet reached. Who knows what tomorrow brings, it could bring death”.

These words the Buddha spoke over 2500 years ago have never been more applicable. For some strange reason, the human mind has a difficult time with the present moment. We prefer to live in the past as a distraction from the here and now.

Many of us have experienced painful traumas in our lives. Nothing I say is meant to diminish or belittle your suffering. Our stories are what brought us to this point. It is in the grasping to this story that keeps us from moving forward. We often spend a tremendous amount of time re-living things we define as the pivotal events that prevented us from reaching our full potential.

When we blame the past for why we do not move forward, we have guaranteed that we will stay exactly where we are. The past has to be acknowledged for what it is before we can begin the journey to now.

One of my teachers once asked a group of students what defines the past? Is an hour ago any more in the past than the reign of the dinosaurs? They are both in the past. The past is a place that we can never return to and in many cases, a place we would never want to return to given a logical choice.

I encourage you to ponder this question for a while. What is the past and why am I so afraid to move out of it? There is no bargaining with the past to make it better and we may not see tomorrow.

For the new year may we accept the past and set it behind us to live each day for what it is, right now.