How often do we see things as we wish they were? We want to see what appears to be instead of what is. It gets us into a mess, and in the end, we have a whole lot of unhappiness in our laps. But when we allow ourselves to truly see what is, and we accept what is, we can begin to be more at peace and start to grow as a wiser soul.
One of the practices I've studied over the last couple of years is the Buddhist idea of seeing things as the way they are and then reacting not from a place of anger, but a place of loving indifference. We tend to react in anger when we want to change an unwanted situation and can't. But when we realize we cannot change the truth, and we accept what is, we can develop the power to view the same situation with indifference. By practicing Vipassana meditation, where you simply sit and focus on wiping your mind as clear as crystal of anything but what is, it helps you to not only see the truth of a matter, but to be perfectly fine with it.
This morning I found a little more literature on Vipassana meditation, and it provided me with some information that I hadn't yet read. In short, I learned that even if you know how to meditate in this way, you still won't have a tranquil state of mind unless you do the following:
- Avoid killing.
- Avoid stealing.
- Avoid sexual misconduct.
- Avoid lying.
- Avoid intoxicants.
Now, the Buddhists aren't saying you'll go to hell if you don't follow these guidelines. These rules aren't like the 10 Commandments. Instead, what I think Buddhists were trying to convey is something like, "Hey, so we've all lived and learned, and these are a few bad ways of being that we have seen ruin people time and time again. We suggest you avoid them. You can do them, but you probably won't have a very chill state of mind. But, you do whatevs! We're just sayin..."
I've seen a pretty big shift in just my overall health and physical figure by cutting out the intoxicants (as well as a lot of sugar and grease and other bad stuff). I made that decision based on my growing discomfort with my digestive system--I got sick of being sick. And aside from my stomach pain going away, I've noticed my body's slimmed up, and I have a ton more energy. As far as the number of intoxicants I've cut back on, I've gone from downing 2 to 8 drinks a week (and really "needing" those drinks) to maybe consuming a couple in a month. It's helped my body, and it's helped my mind, and it's helped my spirit. At first it was hard. I didn't realize how much I'd been drinking to mask the feeling of uncomfortable tension and worry in my life--but by not allowing myself to run anymore, it helped me to see what is.
I learned that the Buddhists were right. When I started facing what is, by observing truth and accepting it, the rest of the world eventually fell into place. I got answers to questions that had been burning a hole in my state of mind for some time. I relaxed. I let go. And you know what? I found happiness again.