Ajahn Sumedho, American Buddhist monk trained in Thailand and founder of two English monasteries, offers us his powerful insights into our personal experience, and indeed our very lives themselves. Much of our energies are expended wistfully yearning for the past and the attachments we formed then or regretting what we did or was done to us, and fearfully anticipating the unknown future and what disaster may await us or fantasizing of wonderful future events, and all of this mental and emotional energy pulls us away from the now and our actual lives as we live them. Mindful living in the now liberates us from this suffering.
After reading this classic article from “Buddhism Now”, I followed the link to his book “Don’t Take Your Life Personally, and ordered it. Perhaps his words will resonate with you, too.
When something unpleasant happens, or something bad, if we say, ‘Well, you know, that’s the way it is . . . !’ that’s not Suchness. That’s just a cynical statement. ‘Life is pretty horrible and that’s the way it is. Just got to put up with it.’ That’s like resignation to misery. It isn’t Suchness; unless, of course, you see the Suchness of that particular attitude.
Or, when we regard the past as something that is very real, we may think, ‘Ten years I’ve been a monk,’ ‘Twenty-eight, twenty-nine, years I’ve been a monk.” That is conventional reality, but it is also thinking of ourselves as having been something for twenty-eight years. That is just a memory; it is perception in the present. When you really look at it, there is not a person any more, there is just a memory in the present.
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