Our neurotic lives


Is meditation the answer?

My body aches, I have no free time, I need a vacation, I’m too fat, I’m not pretty anymore, I can’t handle my bills, I’m angry at my friends, I wish I had more money, I’m getting old, I question my beliefs.

I think that for most of us, these random thoughts are considerable fodder for dissatisfaction and unhappiness in our lives. Like a hamster on a wheel, we are constantly chasing after that which we do not possess. And how can we ever be satisfied and fulfilled with these seemingly unending thoughts of discontent?

Not so oddly, I truly believe that the dhamma (teachings of the Buddha) holds the answer to this dilemma, and offers the solution pretty clearly.
And while the practice is far more than just meditation, I have come to see that it is the bedrock for my practice. Any difficulty, any disturbing emotion that arises, can find loving kindness, acceptance and compassion within my meditation.
Does that mean that every time I meditate that I get done and feel happy and fulfilled about everything? Of course not. Often I am more agitated than when I began. But that’s the beauty of meditation, is that there is no requirement to accomplish anything. And by just being with these thoughts and feelings, we learn to observe without judgement. If I’m happy and peaceful when I’m done meditating, great! If I am unsettled and disturbed when I’m done, that’s great too!
Sound crazy? Well it’s not. This is really the foundation of the practice in being able to observe and accept without judgement or expectation. And in learning to do this, retraining our minds, there is a peace and equanimity that develops. With consistency and determination, we learn to cultivate Noble qualities and good kamma within each thought, word and action.

In meditation this morning, the thought of not only impermanence but the reality of only having this day, was powerfully clear to me. Why in the World should I waste one moment of this precious life being preoccupied with the neurosis of what I do not have or wish I had?
I can only justify this irrational behavior if I know that I have many more days, in fact so many, that I am willing to waste one!
Personally, I know I do not have this latitude. Today is it for me. Precious and few, to quote an old song.
Thinking of what you want or wish today, I hope you will pause and see what you have. Right here, right now, in this moment.
And may you be well, happy and peaceful.