by Vajracharya Joy Metcalfe - 9th October 2012
We all sometimes experience pain and difficulty when dealing with our life. This is one of the reasons that Shakyamuni Buddha stated "life is dukka" (suffering). When he made this statement, I believe he was actually saying that it is our reactions to our life experiences that creates suffering - that so long as we react instead of respond to life we are consigned to an experience of life that is limited or muddied by our emotions, our opinions, our attachments and our aversions.
Shakyamuni Buddha taught that the goal of all participants in this reality is to reach a state of consciousness where No matter what the eyes see, the ears hear, the tongue tastes or the nose smells, it does not disturb your inner sense of stability. By doing so, the Buddha explained, you would then be able to navigate the obstacles of your life in the best way possible i.e. going with the flow of the energies of the Universe. It is only when you are going with the Universal flow of life that you can begin to create your reality in a way that is for The Highest Good of All and when you do so, you will no longer experience the suffering found in karmic situations. But in order to do so you must first experience life with the right view or attitude.
Now it is one thing to understand in theory that we create our own reality but all too often, it is often very hard to grasp this concept when we are in the thick of our karmic lessons or "knots" of life...
A wise Buddhist teacher once likened life to a race, stating "from the moment of conception the race of life begins." What some participants fail to realize before they begin is that the racetrack is actually an obstacle course AND all the obstacles on the track were designed by - YOU!
The experiences of our lives were created by our merits or Dharma and our unresolved conflicts or Karma. Though the obstacles themselves are non-negotiable, how one navigates the track is decided by each participant - we decide how to proceed using free will. And luckily for us, through Divine Grace, we are also given the opportunity to enter the race over and over again - until we win it.
Everything that we experience is uniquely designed to facilitate us in gaining the wisdom we need to win the race of life. This is why it is so important to be able to look at your life with-out pre-suppositions or opinions as to what "should" be but instead to look at your life as a series of lessons designed expressly for you. When you are able to do so, a path begins to open, out of events that will lead you through the present difficulty in the best way possible and for the Highest Good of all concerned. This is why living with the right attitude or right view of life, is so important. This awareness gives deeper meaning to the statement "Change your mind and change your life".
By having the right attitude or right view means that you should never complain about your lot in life, or blame others or give up OR be arrogant when you experience success of any kind. The right view means living life with humility as humility is the fuel that powers true success. It means never forgetting that because you have had the good luck or merit to have incarnated in human form, you have been given a unique opportunity to clear your obstacles or unresolved conflicts and to let go of suffering - the goal of all sentient beings.
Now entering the race of life does not mean that we can't have help along the way - we absolutely can! This is where friends and family and even the kindness of strangers come in - not to mention Divine Intervention. But it does mean not expecting others to do our work for us - whatever that work may be in the moment, it is our work, necessary for our growth and development as a soul.
The Buddha explained it all very succinctly, in his famous poem - here's the first verse...
The Twin Verses by Lord Buddha
What we are is the result of what we have thought,
is built by our thoughts, is made up of our thoughts.
If one speaks or acts with an impure thought,
suffering follows one,
like the wheel of the cart follows the foot of the ox.
Happily, if you are ready to change your mind and change your life but don't know how exactly to begin, The Buddha, in his infinite compassion, gave us a practice to help us access right view and to control and discipline our minds - it is called meditation. Having a daily meditation practice can help one begin to respond instead of to react to life, so we may best recognize and live Right View. When we do, it is then that our individual paths to Liberation will begin to emerge. If you have a wish to end suffering and to "win" the race of life, The Buddha would encourage you to find a meditation program that speaks to your heart and as my Master, Dechan Jueren, always said "practice well".
What do you think? Just email if want your thought posted here.