Rule #1: Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Rule #2: It’s all small stuff.
While this may not be from the teachings of Buddha, I do however find it to be very Buddhist. In two short sentences, this conveys so much about letting go of attachment, desire, expectations, clinging, and to also have complete present moment awareness.
Each day we are all presented with waves of thought that easily distract us from the present moment. Dragging the past behind us like some kind of plow horse, we begin to feel the exhaustion of pulling these stories and then reach for the elusive brass ring of the future. Always just inches from our grasp, we stretch ourselves farther and farther in the pointless hope of grabbing hold of that unknown reality that has yet to unfold.
Like me, many of you I am sure, experience overwhelming moments of stress and insecurity. And especially at these times it probably feels useless to observe these two simple rules. But the kindest thing that any of us can actually do for ourselves is in fact to remind ourselves of these truths at those very moments.
Perhaps a gentle acknowledgment that “this too shall pass” can help us breathe just long enough to remember the two rules.
Once again, it becomes increasingly easy to see that impermanence is not just a indisputable truth, but also a very beneficial one to understand and absorb. If anything, it is our own aversion to impermanence that causes our suffering to begin with. And let’s try to look at that for a moment. Just think about your life, and ask yourself what one thing is actually permanent. Don’t get frustrated as you start to realize that you cannot come up with one single thing. All things in this World, including our bodies, are impermanent. Which really leaves us with a simple choice. Struggle with our minds and try to delude ourselves into thinking otherwise, or accept the reality of this nature. And of course, the more deeply any of us can understand and accept this, the more our fear and anxiety are extinguished. The clarity of knowing that it’s all small stuff brings us peace and spaciousness. Like dropping a huge burden from our shoulders, the light becomes brighter and the gift of the day becomes yours.
While none of us may be able to always be totally present, by not sweating the small stuff we can focus on the positive. Spending our time and energy on wholesome endeavors that benefit our own lives and others in the most powerful ways. All of which are in the present moment! Just knowing this is available should give inspiration to all of us even in the darkest moments. It’s simply the truth my friends, and the truth will set you free!