Although I never took part in the practice of Buddhism, I have always been fascinated by it. Last week I went to a lecture given by a Buddhist Monk who used to be a middle school teacher. He began with a basic meditation which involve a breathing exercise where we were instructed to breathe out the black smoke of negativity and inhale positive energy in the form of a bright light.
I learned that the message of Buddhism is that the more you love, the happier you will be. As I took notes in my journal, I began describing all of the people in my life who were happy. It suddenly occurred to me that those who were indeed the happiest were those who opened up their hearts and were able to love. Conversely, those who were unhappy, were those who were selfish and unable to love complexly.
The lecture summarize what I already knew, but it was nice to have a refresher and something else to muse about in my journal. It’s nice being reminded that a world without love is a miserable place and that if we allow positive emotions to over power negative ones, the world would be a much better place.
What do you think?
Thanksgiving has and always will be my favorite holiday. Like everything else, many of our deepest passions plant their roots in childhood. As the daughter of an agnostic mother and a father who survived the Holocaust and in the cradle of a weak marriage, Thanksgiving was the only holiday they could agree on to celebrate.
So in mid-November, when most families were considering the height of that year’s Christmas tree, my house became decorated with fall colors and leaves. Our Thanksgiving table was decorated with chocolate turkeys, cranberries and orange ornaments. The aroma of turkey roasting in the oven early in the day still brings with it an unexplainable sense of calm.
Thanksgiving is the holiday I’ve also focused on with my own three children stressing that it is the day when they they need to express gratitude–either to one another or on the pages of our journals.
These days when we are surrounded by insecurities and uncertainties, we should make this a regular practice–not only on Thanksgiving but every day we are alive. In honor of the Buddhism philosophy, those who are truly the happiest are those who appreciate what they have–even life’s simplest pleasures need to be celebrated–such as driving to the coffee shop i or carefully examining the center of a budding flower.
What have you done today to show your gratitude?