Thursday, January 30, 2014

Still Your Mind

To my children:

In your lifetime, now & in the future, you have and will experience things that cause you to feel bad. I have witnessed these occurrences many times since the first of you were born in 1992. 

- sadness over a lost toy
- frustration towards an intruding sibling
- embarrassment at being different 
- jealousy regarding a friends abundance of mall T's and cool shoes
- self-doubt as a result of not being invited to a party
- fear of getting a bad grade or not performing well at a sport

Each of these words (sadness, frustration, embarrassment, jealousy, self-doubt, & fear) are examples of how humans suffer. These types of negative experiences will re-occur over & over in your lifetime. Later they look a bit different. Perhaps like this:

- sadness if you have to move away from a place you love
- frustration towards outsiders in the affairs of your relationship
- embarrassment at having said something you didn't quite think through
- jealousy over the nice things your neighbor may have (boats, nice landscaping, fine clothes, etc)
- self-doubt after the breakup of a serious relationship
- fear of not meeting your spouse's expectations

My point here is that as you move through different stages of development, the problems you encounter change, yet stay the same. You will not escape problems. They will just look different depending on where you are at in your life. 

Childhood tears lead to teenage angst. 
Teenage angst morphs into the stresses of college life. 
The stresses of college life often turn into the pressures of raising a young family. 
The pressures of raising a young family lead to the responsibilities of sending older children to college. 
The responsibilities of sending those older children to college lead to the adjustment of losing your youthfulness and preparing for retirement. 
And so on. 

The problems or sufferings in your life will not let up. 

I have a great message, though, to share with you. I have found a way to greatly reduce the pain that is associated with all of the obstacles you are going to face in the future. This 'way' can even help you put to rest the discomforts of negative experiences in your past. 

The way is this:

Practice restraint, stillness, and neutrality of your constantly moving state of mind.  

I watch you all sitting around thinking about your problems. You analyze them, make assumptions about what others are thinking, create grand stories about what is going to happen next. You place your problems (and yourself) into a very limiting box and just settle into the made-up story that you came up with. 

Many times you make huge mistakes in your thinking. You only analyze a partial list of the facts; you assume completely wrong; and things don't look at all like the ending you made up in your noggin. Most of the time all that thinking just caused you suffering (confusion, frustration, disappointment, and sadness). 

So, let us learn how to still the madness of thoughts bouncing around in our mind like monkeys. Let us learn what to do when we experience this Monkey Mind. Read my words; believe them because I have lived them; trust me; and then try the things I ask of you. 

I love you. 
I love the people you are in love with. 
I love your children and the people they love 
And I love your children's children and all the people whose lives they will touch. 

Let us us do good together and plant the seeds of happiness that will ripple out to them all.