I am still quite busy getting settled into our new home and haven’t had a lot of time for study and practice. But every by and then I manged to remember to reflect on the topic I had set for myself: How to best change my attitude. As I wrote in my last post it has become clearer to me that this begins with simply injecting new thoughts and ideas into my habitual way of thinking. This way of looking at training my mind gave me courage and hope. My habits are quite strong and deeply ingrained but to just add a few new thoughts on how to look at the world to the usual mix is not so difficult. Everyone can do that!
So, whenever I remembered, I tried to bring to my mind a few points from the teachings that seemed relevant to what was going on. For example, when things were not going the way I wanted, I would say to myself “Ok that’s not good but even if I were to get it my way it wouldn’t last forever. One day it would change. So why be so upset. ” When I experienced pain — I had a bit of inflammation in my arm, but no big deal — I reminded myself “That’s too bad, but actually life is not about just feeling good. Suffering is unavoidable in this life. Rather than chasing an unobtainable fantasy of a perfect state of happiness, wouldn’t it be much better to use this life to get a handle on my mind. My mind is really disturbed by this little pain but it could be much worse. The nature of samsara is that real disaster can strike any moment. Now I have a chance to work with a difficult state of mind. If I use this opportunity to train my mind this will help me be prepared when real disaster strikes. This is bound to happen sooner or later. Even if all goes well for the rest of my life, one day I am going to have to leave this world and when I die I am probably going to be afraid, confused and in pain. Wouldn’t it be good if my mind could learn to be less disturbed by external circumstances?”
I managed to interject a few little thoughts like these here and there. The moment I would forget my habitual ways of thinking and acting would come back with lightening speed. In no time at all they would manage to create a state of total amnesia. But that’s ok. I tell myself I need to trust in the law of cause and effect. If I keep giving rise to new thoughts and ideas my mind will have no choice but to slowly change.