Don’t multi-task. You cannot possibly be total in what you are doing. Being total in what you are doing is the essence of presence…of true joy.
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.
Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.
“Make positive effort for the good.”
Natalie Goldberg (quoting her Zen master)
Get up out of bed.
Brush your teeth.
Pick up the pen and start writing.
“Don’t be tossed away by your monkey mind. You say you want to do something—“I really want to be a writer”—then that little voice comes along, “but I might not make enough money as a writer.” “Oh, okay, then I won’t write.” That’s being tossed away. These little voices are constantly going to be nagging us. If you make a decision to do something, you do it. Don’t be tossed away. But part of not being tossed away is understanding your mind, not believing it so much when it comes up with all these objections and then loads you with all these insecurities and reasons not to do something.”
“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.”
“Our life is shaped by our mind.”
When I was a kid, we had all kinds of sayings:
Takes one to know one.
Whoever smelt it, dealt it.
Take a chill pill!
But one that stands out is: You’re just projecting! I don’t think we really understood what we were saying, but it usually left the Complainer speechless.
And with good reason.
When we complain about others, we are projecting. Byron Katie’s work includes as “turnaround.” When you find yourself grumbling about someone, she has you turn it around:
“Sheila should not operate out of fear.”
Turn it around.
“I should not operate out of fear.”
With inquiry, we find that we are projecting our own fears and inadequacies.
“(His) need to win drains him of power.”
Eckhart Tolle (re-telling a Zen Master’s lesson).