Buddha’s key ingredient to a fulfilling life
| Posted by Jinnene |
Gautama Buddha is believed to have offered countless insightful teachings between the 6th and 4th centuries, BCE. These philosophies would later come to serve as the foundation of what we now study as the Buddhist religion.
While devoting to the pursuit of enlightenment, Buddha lived as a monk, philosopher, teacher, and sage. Centuries later, his legend lives on. Today, we continue to look to Buddha for wisdom and comfort.
For his essence reminds us that to alleviate suffering, we must acknowledge all that we already have.
Ostensibly, it remains a unanimous pursuit for the better part of humanity: our desire to be happy.
In the United States, this pursuit has been coined “The American Dream.” Many Americans might agree that to live out such vision would mean obtaining a great deal of money, notoriety, or the perfect family.
Among other countries, inhabitants may feel that the freedom of democracy could bring about this happiness sweet spot.
And yet, folks who struggle in third world conditions could believe that to simply have enough food to live without profound hunger would beget a peaceful lifestyle.
Regardless of the context, it has remained clear for ages that to live among the lot of humanity, meant to suffer in some way; it meant to pursue happiness, but not necessarily to live it out.
Buddha is often quoted claiming that, “Happiness will never come to those who appreciate what they already have.”
Another way of saying this: what are ways in which you are grateful for what you have in this moment?
Consider it for yourself. Do you currently keep a gratitude practice? Or do you feel more bogged down by something that you feel to be rushing toward?
Don’t be afraid to sit in quiet reflection as you read this, and really consider your answer to that question.
Personally, I have a lot of room to remember Buddha’s smart teaching.
Though I often (daily) journal about my gratitude—every morning paying credence to the beautiful capabilities of my body, my strong mind, my loving family—try as I might, I still find myself returning to a sense of lack.
My inner frustrations often come about by putting too much mind focus around what I don’t have: enough money, clear enough skin, fancy enough clothes, sufficient enough confidence to professionally succeed, enough interest at work, so on and so forth.
But when I consider the profound suffering that Buddha encountered around him: old age, sickness, death, I can recall this simple reality: none of those dynamics are with me in this moment.
In this moment, all is right. Community members in this coffee shop represent backgrounds of a great many countries.
Babies cry and are comforted by their mothers. Baristas greet customers warmly, and inquire how the day is going. A couple of young ladies sit close to one another and attempt to figure out the solution to a problem on a computer screen.
A honey tangerine sits beside my own laptop, which reminds me that sometimes, even the simple joy of eating citrus unleashes the Buddha within.
We all, no matter our current reality, have something to be grateful for in this moment. And now, in this moment.
We will never obtain happiness if we don’t appreciate what we already have.
I invite you into a mindfulness exercise.
Sit comfortably, right where you are. Ensure that your hips are square. Soften your shoulders, and allow for a natural opening in your chest.
Fill your chest, belly, and lungs with air. Slowly release. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you invite yourself into gratitude?
Now, close your eyes (after you read this) and connect with that concept, reality, person, or object. Ask yourself: what do you love about this gratitude? What does this gratitude offer to your life?
What would it be like to sit here in mindful reflection over objects of gratitude for more of your precious moments of your life?
Could so-doing give you more of a taste of what it’s like to live with less suffering? Could it free you of the pressure to achieve, to chase, to rush, to prove?
I hope so.
And I can say with certainty that the Buddha hopes that for you, too.
One last note: If you think this material would help others you know, please share the post with them! Thanks so much for spreading the word of wellness.