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Jan 30
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Moment to Moment

A few thoughts that pop to mind

by Susan Firer

I’m experiencing writer’s block again. I was on a roll with easy flowing topics the last couple of months, but not so right now. I think I may just write briefly about ideas that pop into my mind…like a stream of consciousness!  I hope you don’t get dizzy: buckle up.

First thought. The six paramitas: generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, meditation, and wisdom.  Paramita translates as “perfection” and is also referred to as “crossing over” from relative truth to absolute truth, or, crossing over from just worrying about your own suffering to concern for the suffering of others. The six paramitas are all about the path of the bodhisattva (Mahayana teachings), and there is much written on the paramitas and entering this path of service for the benefit of others. Much of it is very practical without a lot of jargon. Bodhisattva is often translated as awakened heart. So the six paramitas are a way to utilize and cultivate our mindfulness and awareness, in order to open our hearts/minds to the vastness of what is going on all around us, minute by minute, in order to be of more benefit to the world. Look up lojong slogans as a start, if you are interested in learning more. 

Next thought. “No matter where you go your mind is there with you.” I said this to my sister during a conversation she and I were having a couple weeks ago. We were talking about how different the world is today from when we were growing up. She was born in 1967, I was born in 1969, and she was saying how overwhelmed she feels at times with the speed, aggression, lack of attention to detail, and general apathy about quality that she experiences from some of the people in her workplace. Also overwhelming is a lack of honesty and integrity of elected officials; we both know this isn’t anything new in our lifetimes, but it seems to be far more normalized now. And, she said how she has this kind of underlying feeling of dread a lot of the time. While she was musing about what she could do about this, she asked me something like, “If there was one thing you could work on to help with this what would it be?”  That’s when I said,”My mind.”

Think about it. No matter how much wealth you have, how much physical strength you have, how smart you are, or how many friends you have, if you don’t have strength, stability or clarity of mind, then what good are those other things in the long run? If you lose your mind to aggression, ignorance, fear or doubt, then you are incapable of making decisions based on wisdom and compassion. Our mind is all-powerful and happy, if we take care of it and train it to remain calm and present in the midst of whatever situation we find ourself in. With a calm and steady mind, we know we will be okay, and we will also be able to be there and care for others should they need us.

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