- The Art of Perserverence
Sometimes, when you’re caught amidst the daily grind it can be easy to lose sight of your awareness and acute attention to detail. An interesting thing happened the other day. I was talking to a friend Robert, who is making a fabulous documentary (which I will post about at a later date), told me of this Buddhist poet “Thich Nhat Hanh” who I never heard up until that point.
The very next day while I was sitting idly at my stoop sale I reached into the box of books for sale, many of which were donated by various people I know. Lo and behold I pull out a small book written by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Strangely, since I was younger Buddhism has crept its way into my life, without me being aware of it. I do not identify with any one belief system, but every time I speak to Buddhist practitioners or read/hear about certain Buddhist beliefs, they alway seem to match my own personal beliefs 100%.
In any event, I read a little sliver of the little book and inside Thich Nhat Hanh discusses the idea of “mindfulness” which i believe is the nice and neat way of saying, what I always say: awareness and acute attention to detail.
What I always mean when I say this is, “don’t forget yourself.”
It is easy to forget yourself in life’s activities, it is important to remember that you are life, this life is yours and you are experiencing it. Somehow we all manage to escape this fact and the results lead us into places we’d rather not find ourselves. Essentially, I believe a lot of our grief (in the various shapes it takes) is directly caused by forgetting.
Maintaining awareness or “mindfulness” is easy in theory, but in practice it is absolutely difficult. We are so used to reacting to outside stimuli, we are so used to being distracted, multi-tasking, and overall, misplacing ourselves that the simple task of being in the moment i.e. identifying your actions as they arise and staying with them until the next thing, becomes nigh impossible.
In later discussions, I will explain my theory on self-abuse in relation to loss of consciousness/awareness and learning how to deal with the pain of awareness. For now I will close with a few comments:
While reading a Shambala text, I came across this one concept discussed as “feeling the sadness of existence.” Personally, I feel this sadness on an every day basis, so I can completely relate to it. I also believe that all people feel this sadness. It’s hard to explain the facets of the sadness in one breath, so I’ll probably do it at a later date, however, one thing is for certain, not everyone deals with this sadness in a healthy way–including myself sometimes.
On Sunday I was working, and I really wanted a cookie but I was torturing myself not to eat it because I don’t want to gain weight, my co-worker said, “there are worse vices…a cookie is much better than black-tar-heroin.” I thought about it, convinced myself he was right and ate the cookie. But a few days later, I realize in fact, eating that cookie is just as bad as heroin. Not, in its effects but by the intention behind which I eat. I eat because it is a momentary satisfaction and it makes me feel good. And because I need to feel good because I’m sad. And I’m sad for existence. This is the same motive behind the heroin addict.
For those who feel hopeless, try listening to this beautiful Buddhist chant. It will open up the gates to your soul and unharden your fortress of anger/grief/hate/contempt/etc. Sabka mangal hoye re