Advertisement

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Waking Up is a Revolutionary Act: A Manifesto for Mindful Living, Part Five: Be Good

Imagine what the world would be like if generosity, kindness, and wisdom prevailed over greed, hatred, and ignorance.  We would devote our resources to education, science, creativity, wellness, and infrastructure rather than spending on defense.

Instead of destroying the infrastructure of Iraq and Afghanistan and rebuilding it poorly, we could use that largess to benefit humanity there and around the world where people are in great need. For that matter, we could spend some of that money at home where it is needed here.

Advertisement

Humanity has always dealt with upheaval, uncertainty, and change. I’ll make a bold claim: Everything that is wrong with the world stems from greed, hatred, and ignorance. The Buddha was right about this in the Bronze Age and it is still true today. The financial crisis of 2008; countless wars and conflicts around the world, domestic abuse; pollution, climate change, overpopulation – all the result of greed, hatred, and ignorance that sometimes arises to near delusional proportions.

The same principles apply within ourselves. Better to be generous than greedy. Generous in the sense of being interested in the world around us and curious about what our mind does. To be greedy is to try to hold onto things, to hoard pleasures, to try to make the impermanent permanent.

Advertisement

We engage in a lot of self-hatred with self-judgment, it seems to be endemic to our culture of stress, anxiety, depression, and self-entitlement. It’s a paradox that kids how grow up in very critical environment  and kids who grown up in a over-praising environment both develop a harsh internal critic. It seems like too much attention to self – to me— whether positive or negative in conjunction with our culture of achievement, perfection, and idealism leads to these self-problems.

Kindness to self has to be taught to most. We need books like Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance, Christopher Germers’s Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, Steve Flowers and Bob Stahl’s, Living With Your Heart Wide Open, and Polly Young-Eisendrath’s The Self-Esteem Trap. We are practiced at harsh self-judgment, what I have called the Strident Self – a self driven by impossible, contradictory, and capricious standards of perfection. Not only is this Strident Self engaged in hatred, it is also ignorant – disconnected from reality, subject to cognitive distortions that serve outdated mental models of who we are in the world.

Advertisement

Wisdom, well that’s a whole other story. We live in an insane world of stupidity, lies, and short-sighted thinking (we also live in a world of beauty, courage, and grace, so when I say “we” I am referring to the leaders of the world). We don’t live in harmony. We take actions that harm ourselves and others. We don’t seem to recognize that things are always changing. We glorify the self promoting greed and hatred. We don’t seem to know the difference between fantasy and reality. We are ignorant, perhaps even delusional. As a result, we are chronically dissatisfied, even anguished in life.

Generosity-kindness-wisdom and greed-hatred-ignorance are karma. Karma means action in Sanskrit (or Kamma in Pali). It points to the observation that actions have consequences – all actions have consequences. This consequences may only be emotions born of thoughts. Wisdom helps us to choose good actions.

Advertisement

Without mindfulness its hard to be wise. In fact, I’d argue it’s impossible. Mindfulness is the currency for generosity-kindness-wisdom; it’s the vehicle, the path, and the method.

Be good; embrace mindfulness.

Waking Up is a Revolutionary Act: A Manifesto for Mindful Living was inspired by Experience Life magazine, Editor-in-Chief, Pilar Gerasimo’s, article Being Healthy is a Revolutionary Act: Renegade Perspectives for Thriving in a Mixed Up World, and its accompanying A Manifesto for Thriving in a Mixed Up World. Visit http://RevolutionaryAct.com, the website devoted to Being Healthy is a Revolutionary Act: A Manifesto for Thriving in a Mixed-Up World and download your own copy of the manifesto and join the movement! Read more about Experience Life here.

 

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jana

    I don´t want to argue too much…but I´d say whatever “bad”- so, also those greed, hatred, and being so bad at ourselves – is caused by fear. Also, maybe when being aware of the human fear, it allows you to see people some better way than when you say they are greedy and ignorant… Thanks for the article,it is fine, though, sad… :)

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Colleen

    I agree Jana, that greed and hatred are from a place of fear. In any given moment, we are coming from a place of fear (anger, hostility, greed, hatred, anxiety, frustration, etc. etc.) OR a place of love (mindfulness, acceptance, curiosity, joy, open mind and heart, etc.)

    As you so insightfully say Jana…when we are aware of the fear, it allows us to see others in a different way. When we see others in a different way, they may start to see themselves in a different way as well:>)

Previous Posts

Be Mindful and Be Lovely
It is always a joy to discover a new poem that captures the spirt of mindful living. The late poet Galway Kinnell said, “To me, poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for ...

posted 9:12:44am May. 04, 2015 | read full post »

The Awakened Introvert on the Radio
I had the pleasure, again, of being Mark Johnson's guest on WDEV for his morning call-in radio program. Mark and I connect as fellow introverts. Click here to listen to the show. We talked about the differences between introverts and ...

posted 1:34:58pm May. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Louis CK Teaches Buddhadharma
I was recently turned on to Louis CK's epistle on cell phones during an appearance with Conan O'Brian. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HbYScltf1c[/youtube] Louis CK is very funny and he captures the sense of infomania that ...

posted 8:23:15am Apr. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Love the Inside of Your Own Head and Be Free
I recently read Abigail Thomas's new book, What Comes Next and How to Like It. It's a poetic reflection on a lifelong friendship and life itself. You can read it, as I did, on the span of an airplane ride. After the death of her husband, ...

posted 3:07:12pm Apr. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Mindfulness Matures
A recent article in the Sunday Times is critical of the mindfulness movement. I read through some of the comments to the article and they ...

posted 9:22:21am Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.