Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.
Ataraxia: The Untroubled Mind of the Stoic
In stoic philosophy the goal is to achieve “ataraxia” a mind that is untroubled by change, by the judgements of others, the anger of others, disappointment, loss or heartbreak.
This is all well and good and sounds much like the purpose behind the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. So, we know the goal. How then is it achieved?
The key is acceptance. This means learning to separate thought from the change of outward circumstances. The idea being that it is thought and thought alone which gives rise to the negative emotions of sorrow, anger and fear.
In a strange way this means we simply stop caring about these things. A cruel remark or even a slap on the face. Loss of a prized belonging or even loss of status or rank. The event itself is neutral if we respond neutrally. It is as it is. Things happen. Accept and then take action to rebuild or change to meet changing circumstances.
See? It is Buddhist non attachment. Taoist flowing with the current. Christian turning the other cheek. The idea that we can control our inner talking and so control our emotional response is a novel one for many who never dreamed that such a thing is possible.
Yet it is. Moreover, it is not nearly so difficult as people imagine. It is merely an acquired habit of mind. My house burned down? Sad. I have lost many things. Yet, what is done is done. I accept. I change my thinking to reflect my changed circumstances. Plan. Find a new home. Rebuild. Not in sorrow but in full acceptance.
This is mindfulness. This is acceptance. This is the power which comes with serenity and peace of mind. Everyday brings new challenges to be met but all challenges, every single one, can be met by nothing more than a series of steps, of movements in space and time. A phone call. Clearing debris. Lifting, carrying, talking, planning, moving, standing, sitting. All movements in space and time in a proper order and sequence. In this way a room is cleaned. An essay written. A house built. A civilization raised.
๑ Samsaran ๑
Happiness is a word we often stumble upon, giving it concentrated glances occasionally and sometimes even forgetting to acknowledge that it is more than a word. Judging the nature of being happy is as simple to me as smiling at a bright red flower, the smell of incense wafting into my room…
Let go of the idea of what is normal, and go live your life the way you really want it to live.
Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.
There comes a day when you realise turning the page is the best feeling in the world - because you realise there’s so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on.
When it comes to being gentle, start with yourself. Don’t get upset with your imperfections. Being disappointed by failure is understandable, but it shouldn’t turn into bitterness or spite directed at yourself.
Steps for Dealing with Emotional Pain
1. Refuse to see yourself in all-or-nothing terms (as you’re not all good and you’re not all bad)
2. Refuse to let the past define you
3. Refuse to let mistakes and weaknesses define you
4 .Refuse to let your scars and your pain define you
5. Refuse to let rejection define you
6. Refuse to let others peoples’ opinions define you
7. Believe you can be free, and have a different life
8. Imagine yourself free – being who you’d like to be
9. Whenever the old thoughts and emotions overwhelm, think of this new you, and a new future instead
10. Take one small step and choose to walk towards that better life and future you’ve chosen for yourself.