The good news is that a Peaceful Mind and Joyful Life are most certainly possible! The difficult news is that you have to work for it …
We must realize that we have been born into a largely unconscious world. The beings existing in this world before we got here taught us how to remain unconscious as did the people who taught them. This cycle has been repeating itself for many generations. The way we live seems “normal” because everyone seems to be living it this way (and suffering). It’s not normal! Or better said, the way that we have been taught to live typically does not create the causes and conditions for a Peaceful Mind and Joyful Life.
While dabbling on the internet I stumbled across something called, “Zen Things”. When I read it I was astonished at how it described that life I was living and had been drawn to for many years. Here’s the simple yet profound list of 12 Zen things:
- Do one thing at a time.
- Do it slowly and deliberately.
- Do it completely.
- Do less.
- Put space between things.
- Develop rituals.
- Designate time for certain things.
- Devote time to sitting.
- Smile and serve others.
- Make cleaning and cooking become meditation.
- Think about what is necessary.
- Live simply.
Doesn’t this sound like the opposite of everything you’ve been taught?
As a teacher one of my most difficult tasks is to help people see that the way they live life fundamentally makes it very difficult to experience life the way they desire. The vast majority of students don’t have the time it takes to take care of themselves and their mind. They want to have it both ways. They want to live the life they have become accustomed to living and create a Peaceful Mind. It simply doesn’t work that way.
Your Peaceful Mind is the product of the way in which you live every moment of your life. Everything you do is a cause that will create a certain effect. If the effects you are experiencing are not desired then you must look the causes of that effect and change the causes. Most if not all students struggle terribly with seeing cause and effect in their lives clearly. The more clearly you can see it the easier it is to do something about it.
Tom Notarianni Jr.