In the Here and Now

Forgiveness and self-acceptance are part of the practice of being in the moment.

Continued from page 1

I personally have found that the most painful of life's experiences are often the most growthful in that they precipitate personal transformation, if taken with both insightful wisdom and a friendly, compassionate spirit. My favorite Buddhist virtues are Patient Forbearance and Perseverance, and Courageous Acceptance. They help me befriend all the parts of myself and all various facets of life, both pleasurable and painful. Cultivating these inner strengths within my own heart and mind brings indescribable peace, balance, and harmony into my life and all my relations, and provides a still center within me that is like a sanctuary or refuge amidst the vicissitudes of this chaotic world.

We must learn how to work with all kinds of disappointments, losses, griefs, and suffering in life; how we relate to them makes all the difference. Timeless wisdom tells us that it is not what happens to us that determines our character, our karma, and our destiny, but what we do with what happens to us that determines who we are to be and what kind of life we actually have.

We all have plenty of life experiences. However, some of us just rush headlong from one to another as if life is not much more than a "to do" list. Without much reflection upon the meaning and lessons of our experiences, and without integrating this "higher education" into our lives, we cannot develop our capacity to be wise elders. Without reflection or introspection, we run the risk of squandering ourselves and becoming little more than a weary old fool.

The Buddha said:
"Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is
in the very here and now,
the practitioner dwells
in stability and freedom."

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