Saturday, January 17, 2009

How the hell did Buddha do it?

Have you ever had one of those days that make you feel like you let yourself down? I had that kind of day yesterday; a really unpleasant day. Just when I thought I was handling the obscurity and the nonsense at work, I snapped. I snapped for the smallest reason (I can say this now, thanks to retrospect). I threw a colleague a very passive-agressive remark and immediately hated myself. There are just some things you can't take back so true to form, I've spent most of today dwelling on it. I'm left wondering when I will stop letting people get to me. Here I was, thinking how enlightened I had become this past year and then 'BOOM'! I'm right back where I started from. To make matters worse, I recently turned a year older--what's my problem?

I guess you could say the path to enlightenment is a long, precarious road. There are no speed limits but there are plenty of u-turns, dead-ends and traffic lights on our way to Nirvana. However, before we can even think about knocking on Nirvana's door, we have to be at peace with ourselves and the world around us. We have to be truly happy.

According to Buddha, there are four Nobel Truths; the secrets, if you will, to true peace and happiness.
I've put these in laymans terms....

1. Life means suffering

There is suffering in the world because human nature is far from perfect. During our lifetime, we will endure both physical and psychological pain--it can't be avoided.
Basically, we will go through sad times and happy times; both of these will pass even though we want the happy times to last forever. Nothing is permanent in life.

2. The origin of suffering is attachment
Beware of transient things! The attachment we have to objects has become increasingly alarming over the last decade; we're looking to 'things' for comfort and happiness. I guess you could also call this materialism.
However, ideas and ALL objects of our perception are transient.
True suffering really is linked to desire for things, striving for fame, pursuing wealth at all costs. We simply want too much, thus we suffer even more when we don't get what we want.
Take the desire out of life and you'll never be disappointed again? Just a thought....

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable
This one is a bit tricky to explain. You can stop (temporarily or permanently) suffering through 'nirodha'. What does 'nirodha' mean? It's the process of unravelling our issues with desire and attachment to objects. This truth expresses the idea that suffering can be ended by attaining dispassion.

4. The path to the cessation of suffering
The path to end suffering is basically a very gradual path toward self-improvement.
According to Buddha, this particular path can last many lifetimes so most of us have a very long way to go. I know I do.

In short, the true meaning of happiness is going to be completely different from person to person. Not only that, the route we take to get there will also be different.
Personally, I've come to the conclusion that I will never, ever be truly happy until I become more grateful for all the blessings in my life. I tend to dwell too much on my failures and things that I don't have. That's just a waste of time and tires me out physically and emotionally.

That's it for now; I have to excuse myself because I want to eat a box of cookies. However, in an effort to beat my scale at its' own game, I'll slip in one of my Absolutely Fabulous DVD's and laugh my troubles away. Cookies: BAD! Ab Fab: GOOD!

You have to laugh through the tears.....