Sunday, 21 September 2008

Life Lessons

While driving home this morning, I noticed this fairly attractive woman, driving in her car beside me, constantly peering into the rear view mirror fixing up her makeup. It occurred to me what a wonderful thing it would be if we, as a society, could put so much effort looking it our mind and inward as we do worrying about our outward appearance. What a sacred mirror this would be to be able to reflect our mind and thoughts as it reflects our superficial features!

"How can I be happy?
How can I avoid pain?
Why do I even exist?"

I don't see that we ask the wrong questions, but we are looking the wrong places for the answer. In our western culture, we constantly impress the notion 'its all about appearances'. "Maybe if I could be a little better looking, or make more money or drive a nicer car, maybe I can be accepted by others. This will bring some happiness." As we get older we see through our experiences how silly a notion this becomes. Wisdom tells us through our life lessons that we aren't finding the answers to these questions outwardly.

I've been married twice, divorced twice. In my younger days it seemed so important for me to be in a relationship. I thought another person could somehow create happiness, fill those blank spots in my life. I never was happy by myself to begin with and I felt so incomplete. In the end, it only caused more pain and confusion for myself. As in medicine, you can't cure an infection by eating ice cream; You can't find answers by being in a relationship with another person. A relationship can be a beautiful, wonderful thing if both people enter in, unattached to these ideas that I so naively clung to.

How can we, as Buddhist students and teachers, bloggers and community members, begin to show these life lessons to others in our modern world without falling into some sort of 'religious dogma'? It is said that when the student is ready a teacher will appear. How can we make our appearance more obvious without being so evangelical?

Maybe we can show others that this sacred mirror is already built right inside ourselves, if we just payed close enough attention.

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