You live in a world of your own creation.
Your life continues as it has been, not because that’s the way your life is meant to be, but because you continue to make the SAME CHOICES.
Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over the same way, but expecting a different result.
Choose to do things differently. Choose to change.
For starters, what about beginning to get out of old ruts by changing some of your routines? Little routines, big routines -- find new ways to do things. Scheduling routines, driving routines, dressing routines, sexual routines. ROUTINES ARE ANTI-LIFE!
Little changes in routine can lead to larger changes in relationships, lifestyle, career and the way you do business. We fear change because we cannot know how it will influence the future. It’s safer to maintain the status quo. But is it?
There are times when real change is necessary, IF YOU WANT TO AVOID STAGNATION AND DEGENERATION. When faced with such a time, The “I Ching” advises you approach change gradually, improving the situation a little at time so you can judge the results as you proceed. It warns of being hasty and behaving excessively, thus assuring a “careful calculated transformation.”
In addition, the I-Ching advises that you establish clarity of intent, remove discordant elements as they appear, and throw out what is “outmoded or stifling.”
The I Ching is one of the oldest books on the planet. And although I regularly consult it for guidance, I don’t agree that all change should be gradual. Sometimes change is most effectively implemented with bold action. In any given situation there is always one move that will produce substantial results.
The other side of the coin: A more enlightened Zen view says, we can choose to be happy, whatever the circumstances in our life. By attaining “detached mind” we can rise above negativity or the need to make things different than they are. “Don’t waste your time trying to change anything,” say the unnamed authors of “The Key,” published by the Center for the Practice of Zen Buddhist Meditation in Mountain View, CA.
“If you think you can feel better by doing something else, or being something else, or being somewhere else, then feel better. Don’t be confused by thinking you need to do something else, or be something else, or be somewhere else. JUST BE CONTENT TO FEEL BETTER. (It can save a great deal of time, energy and money.)”
A famous Zen story is about a man being chased by a tiger. To avoid being eaten alive, the man leaped off a cliff and grabbed a vine where he hung precariously. As the tiger swiped at him from above, he looked down and saw another tiger far below waiting for him to fall. To make matters worse, a mouse began chewing on the vine. At this moment, the man spotted a luscious wild strawberry growing out of the cliff side. So holding the vine with one hand, he picked the strawberry and ate it. “Delicious.”
What happened to the man? Obviously he died a moment later. The Zen point is, the man had a choice of wasting the last moment of his life or appreciating it. He chose to appreciate.
Shouldn’t you live each moment of your life as if it were the last moment? That’s what you’re doing if you manage to live in the ever-present NOW. Every moment is the last moment. There is no other moment than this.
I know, I know, living in the NOW is a lot easier said than done. But we exist NOW and NOW is all that is. NOW is outside of time. There is no past in which you were incomplete and there will never be a future in which you will become complete. Until you accept that you can only exist NOW, you will believe that fulfillment awaits you in an illusory future if you take the proper actions. This belief destroys the experience of NOW and you continually live in illusion.
This very moment is it. Nothing is hidden. All of your calculating and hoping and planning about how it will be someday ... all your dreams and plans ... THIS IS HOW IT ALL TURNED OUT. This is all there is. You’ve been planning all your life for the future, but you will never be aware of the future in the future ... you will only be aware of it in the NOW. We do not exist in time. We exist in self.
A Master of Life uses the time component, but he never accepts it as a reality that entraps him in actions to achieve fulfillment in an illusory future. He is always, at this moment, fulfilled, perfect, at peace and in balance.
I’m certainly not claiming to have accomplished this level of self-actualization, but I’m working on it. When I catch myself worrying about the future, I tell myself, “Be here now.”
Another Zen story helps to make the point a little clearer. A man staying in a small temple got up at 4:30 AM every day to clean the temple, but the monks all remained in bed until 7 AM. He cursed them as he swept, and despised them as he washed the floor. He hoped that the Master would get up and catch them slacking, but it never happened. The Master was in bed himself. The man judged the monks to be indifferent to their duties. He thought of nothing but their idleness and begrudged both his own labor and the monk’s slumber.
Upon hearing of this, the Master asked, “For whose sake do you clean the temple?” Then he answered the question himself. “For your own sake. When you work, work for yourself, not for other people.”
If you want your life to work better, when you work, just work; don’t worry about whether others are working, or whether the temple will be burned down next week or not.
On a personal note, Roberta and I send out thoughts and prayers to all the survivors of Hurricane Harvey. Peace and Light, Dick Sutphen