Awareness

 “The world is not a problem; the problem is your unawareness” ~Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Be aware.
Beware.
Be wary.

Three separate sentences meaning similar things. Beware of danger, be wary when detecting and analyzing the situation at hand, be aware of your surroundings.

In our society, having awareness might translate to being anxious or nervous.  For example, be aware when walking to your car at night in a dark parking lot, beware of the vicious dog in your neighbors yard, and be wary of the creepy man that gives you weird vibes at the supermarket.  All these are true, and happen everyday around the country, but what about the flip side of awareness?

Many find it easier to dwell on the negative, and in turn are not aware of the positive.

Awareness in a variety of situations is something each individual should strive to achieve. Instead of being wary of the man begging for change on the side of the busy road, why not be aware of his life and the circumstances that must have occurred to result in this moment of you briskly passing him by? When you turn the sometimes overwhelmingly negative side of the situation off, the only part remaining is that which you can help change for the better. Who else better than yourself to fix or change a poor situation? Take charge and be confident.

Being aware of yourself and your actions is substantially more important than being aware of others. Yes, knowing what is going on in the world, or knowing what your friend is doing over her extended holiday break is great, but what about the awareness of yourself as a key part in the world’s history and its bright future?

Your life, no matter how trivial it may seem at times, is an amazing gift that should be cherished and used to the best of your ability. Be aware of the day that is ahead of you and the impact that you can have on others, beware of wasting your precious night with people you don’t strongly love and want to be around, and be wary of every part of your life that you second guess.

Days tend to pass by, and before you can comprehend it, you may become engulfed in doing what’s right only for you. Remember to be aware of your actions in affecting others, and therefore, affecting the world. Every person you meet, every sentence formed and released, and every single facial expression matters. It matters deeply. Be aware of your impact.

 

The individual

“I don’t want anybody to stand between the individual and existence. No prayer, no priest — you alone are enough to face the sunrise, you don’t need somebody to interpret for you what a beautiful sunrise it is… And this is my attitude: you are here, every individual is here, the whole existence is available. All that you need is just to be silent and listen to existence. There is no need of any religion, there is no need of any God, there is no need of any priesthood, there is no need of any organization. I trust in the individual categorically. Nobody up to now has trusted in the individual in such a way.” ~Osho

Finding a balance between our individual responsibilities and our place in society is a task we all face everyday.  While we can only truly control each of our own actions, we can always use our actions to inspire and lead others on the path to enlightenment.

“By oneself alone is evil done, by oneself is one defiled. By oneself is evil avoided, by oneself is one purified. Purity and impurity depend on oneself. No one can purify another.”

Our self is the most important asset we have.  At the end of the day, all you can rely on is the skill in your hands and the knowledge in your mind.  Everything else is extra.  How we use the talents and abilities we posess is entirely up to us.  We can use them selfishly to benefit ourselves directly.  This is the modus operandi that most beings engage in as evolution demands. We see it in nature everywhere. First, the self. Feed your body, defend your access to resources and your territory.  As the species with the highest cognitive capability, we are tasked with extending our thinking beyond the day-to-day struggles of selfish survival.

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rise above your petty concerns and live your life not just so you might be happy but so that others might enjoy your existence as well.  We are individuals, yes.  But we are also a part of something much, much bigger than ourselves.

Change

“…change is neither where insight begins nor where it ends. Insight begins with a question that evaluates change in light of the desire for true happiness. It ends with a happiness that lies beyond change.” ~Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Full Article)

Many people say life is short and we should live in the moment.  While in some situations being in the moment is everything, true happiness does not come without effort.

Don’t merely consume the pleasures of immediate

Achieving true happiness in this life comes when our efforts are rewarded with the pureness of a single moment.  This single moment may be purely coincidence or chance, and there are thousands of wonderful moments in our lives and each deserves to be valued and enjoyed.  Truly great moments come from the culmination of much effort coming to fruition; rewarding us with far greater pleasure than a single, fleeting moment can.  Be a part of the process and see how the fruits of your labor layer together, creating something worthwhile.

“What, when I do it, will lead to my long-term well-being and happiness?”

Cycles of consumption and production

Allowing ourselves to drift from one momentary pleasure to the next does not assuage the hunger of the soul.  Work instead to achieve true happiness.  Be at peace with yourself and others.  Don’t get caught in the cycle of production and consumption, swallowing down pleasures and pains in our haste and eagerness to find happiness.  These joys and sorrows are but temporary measures.

Finding long-term happiness

“Whatever is inconstant is stressful; whatever is stressful is not-self”

Your sense of self is something willed and fabricated — you choose to create it.   Once you realize this there is no need to pursue self-gratifying experiences or seek temporary, impermanent, inconstant pleasures. Take your experiences which lead you on the path to long term happiness and learn, grow and develop. Acts of generosity, acts of virtue, and the practice of mental absorption, or concentration lead us to long term happiness, and not momentary pleasure.

“…if we care deeply about the results of our actions and want to master the processes of cause and effect that lead to genuine freedom. In other words, we don’t demand childishly that our actions — skillful or not — always result in immediate happiness, that everything we stick into the lock will automatically unlatch the door. If what we have done has been unskillful and led to undesirable results, we want to admit our mistakes and find out why they were mistakes so that we can learn how to correct them the next time around. Only when we have the patience to look objectively at the results of our actions will we be able to learn, by studying the keys that don’t unlock the doors, how finally to make the right keys that do.” ~Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Full Article)

Root cause

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.” ~William Arthur Ward

As I was driving to work today I got stuck behind someone driving incredibly slow.  I don’t speed much, but I will consistently go 5 over the posted limit if the road is open ahead of me.  I tend to get very frustrated when people drive 5 under, especially when there is no reason to do so.

Its something I need to work on because there is absolutely no need to stress over such a trivial matter.

Anyways, I was frustrated with the guy in front of me for his lack of hustle in getting to work on time.  I mentally blamed him for every traffic light we didn’t make.  I was wrong to do so for a number of reasons, but primarily because after I was behind him for a bit I realized it wasn’t even his driving which held up the line of cars behind me, it was the slower driver in front of him who displayed no sense of urgency.

I saw what I thought to be the cause directly in front of me and put the blame squarely on the shoulders of that red Honda accord.  I was wrong.  I failed to realize that the accord was merely a contributing factor.  The silver car in front of him which I didn’t notice at first was the primary cause.

How strange it is that we often just look for a scapegoat in our lives, and never seem to find the true source of the problem.  I know I am guilty of just dispensing blame, rather than proactively seeking the truth and solving the problem at its core.  I must always remember to find the truth first, to conceive a solution and not allow myself to become frustrated, thereby solving exactly nothing.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely…” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mitsuréba, kakuru.

Translates: “Having waxed, wanes.” ~Patrick Lafcadio Hearn. In Ghostly Japan. 2004. p. 185. Print.

The moment the moon waxes full, it begins to wane. In the same way, the height of our prosperity is also the beginning of fortune’s decline. Conversely, the very worst times, when everything seems to be falling apart, there is nowhere to go but up. Things at their worst are the beginning of a change for the better. We can never give up and slide into apathy.
Make the most of an opportunity but keep in mind that all good things must come to an end. Keep faith in the darkest of times for the only certainty in life is change.