2011: A Good Year
I have had a good year. The fact of it keeps surprising me because I am so used to problems. And recently I have been experiencing longer and longer stretches without problems. Life just seems to be unfolding without them. In their place have been a lot of things to appreciate. Not only have things felt really fun and worthwhile, I have also not had the sense that sometime soon the other shoe will drop and life will get all crappy again.
This “fun goodness” is so noticeably different from much of my experience that it has forced me to consider its cause. As far as I can tell, there are two basic reasons my problems have been replaced with worthwhile opportunities.
I have stopped thinking in terms of problems. I wake up, there is stuff that I have to do, and that is pretty much that. It happens every day and shows no sign of stopping until my last breath. My mantra for the stuff that comes up each day is “What else did you have planned?” The long version would be “I thought you were here to have a human life. You know, one where you have stuff to do for 70 to 80 years, then you are done doing stuff. What else did you have planned?” When did having a life become a problem?
Since becoming a parent and a dedicated meditator, I have developed the habit of considering my motivations before taking an action. The most important questions seem to be ”Am I about to take an action based on faith?” and “Am I about to take an action based on love?” If I am, the action seems to contribute to “fun goodness.” If not, the action seems to create problems. It really matters why I am doing what I am doing in terms of how the results affect my life.
My teachers suggest that we not make a burden of our duties. Who needs problems, anyway? They just create a negative charge around something we have to do and might learn from and profit from, if we don’t expend all our energy making life a problem. The energy we don’t waste having problems can be poured into actions taken from a place of faith and love, and life can start feeling sacred and sweet.
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Photo credit: Alex Bartok