The Great Gift We Can Give to the World
A reflection on practice by Annie Nugent
In these troubled times that we live in, we can find ourselves very unhappy with the way events are unfolding in the world & wanting them to be a different way than they are. Because we don’t know how to make sense of it all, the question might arise: Is it possible to be truly happy amidst the challenges of this mystery that we call life? It is often these unsatisfying or difficult times in life that bring us to the dharma in search of answers to this question.
The Buddha tells us that we have been caught in the tangle of desires & dislikes for a very long time, seeking out the pleasant & avoiding what we don’t like. Yet this is the treadmill that keeps us bound to suffering because nothing lasts; we can’t hold on to having things the way we want them to be.
The way to untangle this tangle is to find quiet places & look within by means of mindfulness; by so doing we are cultivating the heart, the mind of wisdom. The Buddha said he knew nothing that brought so much happiness as a mind cultivated towards goodness & wisdom, and nothing that brought so much suffering as a mind that perpetuates the unskillful tendencies of greed, aversion & delusion.
Now we know what to do to bring about the lasting happiness that we seek: Cultivate a wise and loving heart.
Mindfulness shows us how we get entangled in these unwholesome qualities of mind that create so much suffering for us & for all beings. We see that we no longer need to be at their mercy – mindfulness helps us to not bite the hook!
A growing joy & confidence enters our lives when we see that we have developed the skills to meet the challenges of life, not from a place of reactivity or divisiveness as we might have done in the past. Now we engage from a place of goodness, wisdom & compassionate understanding.
This allows for a self respect, a direct understanding & appreciation of the richness that our lives offer. The possibility, the potential for a completely wise & loving heart. This is the great gift that we can give to the world.
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