Photography as Meditation: The Friday Flower. Sometimes just photos. Sometimes with writing. Appearing on Fridays.
Do you ever find yourself doing the opposite of what makes you happy?
I don’t mean working when you wish you were on vacation or saving money by not going shopping. I mean continually making choices even when you know they’re the opposite of what would give you real happiness.
Ever since I came home from (glorious) time with my Teacher, I’ve been especially aware of how I direct my life. I’m not very pleased by what I see.
I know in my heart of hearts what would bring me absolute joy would be to give myself enough time for long practice sessions — where I could do all the visualizations and prayers and mantras without feeling like the clock was ticking.
… or spend time creating content for my wonderful shenpa program people.
… or focus on establishing solid work and life rhythms that are sustainable for me.
These are all within my power to choose and to do. So why do I fritter away so much time and energy on meaningless things?
None of my distractions feed me. I’m dissatisfied with myself and with them even as I engage in them. They are the opposite of what makes me happy. Yet I continue to drop into my computer chair instead of my meditation chair. I create little errands instead of a bigger container that will prioritize them.
Why is it so hard to choose what I know I will love? What I know will nourish and revitalize me? What I know will support my ability to help others?
I’m not writing this seeking comfort or advice. Maybe it’s my way of saying I grasp and crash and fail just like everyone else. But it’s also my way of staying present with what is and giving it a name.
You may think that word is reserved for grief as deep as 9/11, destruction the magnitude of Haiti or despair for places like Darfur.
In Buddhist terms, suffering is also this listlessness. It’s walking around numb, but not entirely. Distracted. Dissatisfied. Continuing to wander in ignorance. Turning away from actions that lead to real happiness in favor of fleeting pleasures. Wasting our rare and precious lives.
This is how we create samsara, how we create karma. And, while it’s not as heavy as the karma created by severely negative deeds, there’s a great danger because we continue thinking it does little harm as we pile it up every day.
Effective immediately, I’m stopping the self-flagellation and thinking kindly of myself. I’m accepting I’m a very human being with very human tendencies. But I’m also shining a light on my choices and reminding myself that the stakes of not changing them are high.
It seems that doing what makes you happy requires awareness, like everything else.