Every time I come home and walk through my door, my pitbull-mix dog Opal runs to greet me. She has done this every time I’ve walked in the door since I adopted her on February 16, 2013. Every. single. time. She loves me, this is true, but she also does not tire of routine or sameness. She doesn’t get jaded or bummed out because she’s been missing me all day.
I walked into a bank today and the young man who greeted me was very enthusiastic about everything: greeting me, asking me if I needed help, guiding me to my appointment, and then going on to greet others. I later learned that he just started working at the bank. Do you remember being new at your job? I do. I loved everything about my day. Nothing could get me down. Everything excited me.
Buddhists have a saying: “Happiness is a choice, not a result.”
Sometimes our most important challenge is to keep life new and choose to not be jaded by things.
I started to lose my way when I learned that our school superintendent did something (it has not been revealed to the public) and will be fired and be paid out several hundreds of thousands of dollars. We just passed a tax hike for education. I’ve been pretty down about it, thinking that certainly, the next expenditure for education will not pass because of this. I got angry thinking about all those tax dollars going to this one woman and not to the thousands of students in our district. But I can’t worry about that. I need to choose to be happy because I have students in front of me now.
I am more productive when I’m happy than when I’m frustrated/disappointed/sad/angry.
Taking the time to reflect can greatly enrich your practice. You might realize you can do more of what you’re doing right and learn how to improve weak areas. Undoubtedly, this will expedite progress.
If you want different, you have to do different.
Putting more hours in;
Doing smarter research;
Visualizing it happening and then doing more work; or
Thinking about it differently and accepting it for what it is. This last possibility escapes most people. They don’t believe they can think or feel differently about something. And they don’t feel they can accept reality. But they can!
Monkey Mind. It’s what Buddhists call the mind that jumps from one worrying thought to another worrying thought, like monkeys swinging from tree to tree.
I am well acquainted with my Monkey Mind – especially since I’ve been working on my novella for Nanowrimo this month. I’m chugging along and it keeps saying, “This is terrible. Seriously. Why do you continue? You should scrap this.”
But I do my best to ignore it and I continue to write because if I listen to it, I’ll stop writing. I’ll be a quitter and the only thing worse than being a bad writer is being a quitter.
I know you’re familiar with Monkey Mind, because you’re listening to it all the time.
What if I miss my plane?
What if I don’t lose the weight before the reunion?
What if I fail as a parent?
Donald Trump is our President! He has no experience! I’m worried that he’ll get us into a war because some other world leader makes fun of his hair!
How do we handle Monkey Mind?
Focus on your breath. Focus on the present moment. Notice it and say, “Oh hello, Monkey Mind. You don’t bother me,” and continue on your way.