Waiting for Samadhi Isn’t a Life Strategy – Day 156 of 365 Days to a Better You

Today’s Affirmation:

I find my bliss in the chaos. I find my stillness in the dance.

When I was younger, I used to spend my time waiting for this perfect moment I imagined would come to take action. The right moment, I assumed, would arrive for me to ask out that girl. The sun would shine upon me, as in a movie, to tell me I was making the right choices. The Universe would suddenly sing in unison to show me the way.

Now, I’ve been lucky enough to have a few of those moments in my life and perhaps you have too. However, they’re not reliable enough base your life strategy around.

The great mythologist Joseph Campbell pointed out there were two spheres of thought in ancient Buddhism – Indian and Chinese. The former has this concept of Samadhi, while the latter is based more on the idea of the Tao.

Samadhi is a moment where the great enlightened being stills the world around him or her to a state of perfected bliss and union. Meanwhile, the Tao summons the idea that life is a chaotic balance always in movement around the great being and that enlightenment is found not in stilling the chaos, but in becoming one with the ebb and flow.

That younger me was constantly waiting for moments of Samadhi. Now I’m certain such a state is reachable by the most enlightened among us and for all of us in certain moments. It’s also reachable if you want to leave the world, as Buddha did, and spend your life on a mountain or in a forest in complete contemplation. For most of us ordinary human beings with a job and mortgage, though, we must be content with finding our bliss amid the chaos of a life that never stops and is always presenting new challenges.

That younger me thought life would stop and wait for me at some point; that I”d suddenly “get it” and all would fall beautifully into place. This older wiser me understands that the beauty and sometimes the terror is found in the constant chaos that is our lives. The beauty is not just in that magical stillness, but in the flow of the river that never ceases.

Power Hack: Stop waiting. There’s no perfect moment except this one. Your goals, your dreams, and your destiny are found on the run. Samadhi does exist and I’d welcome you to seek it, but it’s not the mechanism that will drive most of your happiness or success. For that, you must lose yourself in this moment of action and find your bliss amid the chaos.

Ask him out. Apply to Harvard. Write the book. Change the world. Do it now.

You are all amazing! Never forget it no matter what anyone says. Thank you so much for spending a few more minutes with me on the blog today.

Ray

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Freeing Your Mind – The Affirmation Spot for Friday October 24, 2008

Today’s idea:

“The mark of a moderate person is freedom from his own ideas. Tolerant like the sky, all-pervading like sunlight, firm like a mountain, supple like a tree in the wind; she has no destination in view and makes use of anything life happens to bring her way.”

Tao Te Ching, Verse 59

Most of us like to consider ourselves open-minded and fair. We like to think we look at things objectively and tolerantly. The fact is, however, that our life experiences have indoctrinated and biased our views.

Most of us are not, as Lao Tzu suggests, “free from our own ideas.”

The mention of certain words or concepts evokes waves of emotion that have little to do with the concept and a lot to do with the mental baggage we have accumulated. Worse, our views are often formed based on what other people have told us rather than what we ourselves know.

Since awareness is the doorway to understanding; let’s do a little test.

I’m going to list some words. As you read each word, take a moment to listen to your reaction. I’m not saying you should feel one way or the other about any of these words or the concepts they conjure. I’m simply suggesting you become aware of your blind spots and prejudices so that you can release them and truly deal with life in the open and honest way you want to.

Some of these words may cause little reaction within you, while others may cause a strong, visceral reaction. Becoming aware of your reactions is a very empowering way to take back control of your own thinking.

Ready? Read the words one at a time (silently if you like) and pay attention to your reaction.

  • New and Improved
  • Capitalism
  • Communism
  • Sarah Palin
  • Barack Obama
  • Democrat
  • Republican
  • Christian
  • Jew
  • Muslim
  • Buddhist
  • Hindu
  • Immigrant
  • Labor union
  • Russia
  • Israel
  • Corporation
  • Old
  • Young
  • Fat
  • Freedom
  • Fear
  • Math
  • Wall Street
  • Science
  • Religion
  • War
  • Peace
  • Terrorism
  • Love
  • Hate
  • Rich
  • Poor
  • Environmentalism
  • Profit

The Greek sage Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The more you examine and pay attention to your auto-reaction to things the better able you are to look at each circumstance with fresh, unconditioned eyes.

The key to freeing your mind is to ask yourself why. Why does this word evoke this emotion? What information is that feeling based on? Where did I get that information? How do I know that information is accurate? It takes a lot of strength to really examine your unconscious assumptions.

You don’t have to use this list. You can make your own list of emotionally charged words and explore your feelings.

The fact is that – for better or worse – words that create unconscious reactions when they are even uttered hold the potential to be used as manipulation. An empowered thinker is able to set aside the initial reaction and explore what is being said beyond the word.

We see this all the time in political campaigns. Labels start getting tossed around. The labels are a kind of psychological warfare because the labelers know people react to those words.

You may find that this approach helps you break free from old programming and allows you to move forward in your life.

Know thyself!

Ray

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