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.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What Is It You Want Most From Life?

I am not asking this question as one to be answered, rather as one to be pondered quietly within yourself.

Many will answer this question with something related to love, money, fame or one form or another of material possessions. For some, this may be as far as the thought is capable of going since it is the truth. There is no right or wrong answer.

Others may find surprising insight after sitting with questions like this. Sometimes we are blinded to our true wants and needs due to our fears and a vast number of societal influences. We often find that rather than what 'we' want, we seek what others have convinced us we want.

Every day we are barraged with images and words telling us that our lives will be more complete with whatever is being pitched. Billions of dollars are spent each year telling us we need more. Softer skin, less weight, more hair, better sleep are just some of the thousands of messages we receive each day.

All of these things may bring a degree of happiness. For those looking for something more fundamental, I argue that no matter how many 'things' we now have, we need be looking in a much deeper place. We have all heard that money does not lead to happiness. At the same time, I have never seen proof that poverty does either. There must be something more.

Each of us has to answer this question for ourselves. Look beyond the standard answers and see if there is something else. You may be surprised or perhaps not. Either way, once you find 'your' answer,work to make it reality.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

If Only...

Six letters, two little words. Harmless and innocent by themselves combine to form a foundation of regret and suffering. If only I... If only he... If only she...

Somehow, either consciously or unconsciously we use these tiny words to justify our failure in achieving our dreams, our goals. Is this fair? Perhaps, sometimes. More often than not, these words simply shift the blame, making our shortcomings more palatable.

This is not to say that we are responsible for every failure and disappointment life hands us. Far from it. Life takes its toll on each of us, leaving only the choice of how we face each adversity. Transferring the responsibility for the choices we can control away from ourselves will not make things better.

Next time you catch yourself beginning a sentence with "If only...", allow yourself a gentle chuckle and replace the two little words with two other little words; "Why not". Why not me. Why not her. Why not him.

Six letters, two short words combined, empowering us to dream, to live more fully. We have but one chance in this life. Dream! Fly! Happiness may be as simple as two little words.