Do you ever examine the cause of your unhappiness or dissatisfaction as it is occurring? Or, like most of us, do you get caught up in the moment and only build on an already disturbing story?
And while I have gotten much better at dropping the stories and simply being present, I am not without my occasions of sliding down that slippery slope. Building support for the cause of your upset seems to offer some sort of comfort and satisfaction, even though we are aware that we are only getting more upset and unhappy as we build this story. And the only reason that any of us do this, is because we lack the skill and mindfulness to stay present in the moment.
I was very fortunate yesterday to have a conversation with dear Bhikkhuni Vimala. And one of the things she shared with me was a lesson that she had recently heard herself. This came from a dhamma talk that she had listened to, where the teacher explained that we should ask ourselves if this is my responsibility.
Meaning that when troubles arise, we can all benefit by pausing and asking ourselves “is this my responsibility?”. Which is very much the same principle as the Buddha taught with “This is not mine, this is not me, this is not my self”. Seeing things as they actually are with right discernment.
Stop and think about how many difficulties we face in our lives that if seen with right understanding and mindfulness, would prove not to be our responsibility at all. Likely, most are actually not any of our business! So who made you the Boss?
I can see that an idle mind is a monkey mind. Filling itself with unwholesome and unskilful thoughts, mental formations and delusions. And by not being able to focus your attention right at the tip of your nose, and being aware of the breath that is happening right now, only serves to ignite the flames of dukkha (dissatisfaction/unhappiness). Thinking “what about this or what about that, he said this or she said that”.
Each moment is another opportunity to increase our love of the self and all others, while cultivating mindfulness and equanimity. It’s always our choice to either be the Boss of our own mind, or allow the monkey to be in control.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.