…reality alone counts, and that dreams, expectations, and hopes only serve to define a man as a broken dream, aborted hopes, and futile expectations; in other words, they define him negatively, not positively.
– Jean Paul Sartre
Do you wake up and take a sleeping pill or do you wake up and take action?
Remember that you must behave in life as at a dinner party. Is anything brought around you? Put out your hand and take your share with moderation. Does it pass by you? Don’t stop it. Is it not yet come? Don’t stretch your desire toward it, but wait until it reaches you.
Are you patient? Patience can be difficult for most people but can be cultivated by focusing intensely and positively on the present. To cultivate gratitude in the now is to fight impatience.
Everywhere and at all times, it is up to you to rejoice piously at what is occurring at the present moment, to conduct yourself with justice towards the people who are present here and now.
For how much of your day are you present? Be where you are and try to be your best.
This is a very encouraging teaching because it says that the source of wisdom is whatever is going to happen to us today. The source of wisdom is whatever is happening to us right at this very instant.
When do you learn? We are always learning, but to be conscious of this is the trick to learning in the right direction. This is how we grow most effectively.
We think that by protecting ourselves from suffering we are being kind to ourselves. The truth is we only become more fearful, more hardened, and more alienated.
– Pema Chodron
How is your guard up? Running from fear and suffering grants it control over us. Facing it, questioning it and understanding it shows that we are not afraid and then we can control the emotion.
…moral virtue comes about as a result of habit.
Who are you becoming today? What virtues and skills are you developing? You can only answer accurately if you are aware of what your habits are.
There are four kinds of food that we consume every day. They are: edible food (what we put into our mouths to nourish our bodies), sensory food (what we smell, hear, taste, feel and touch), volition (the motivation and intention that fuels us) and consciousness (this includes our individual consciousness, the collective consciousness, and our environment.)
-Thich Nhat Hanh
What did you consume today? This week? This month? Taking control of what we consume, when we can, will lead to a happier and more focused life.
We can aspire to be kind right in the moment, to relax and open our heart and mind to what is in front of us right in the moment. Now is the time. If there’s any possibility for enlightenment, it’s right now, not at some future time.
Do you dwell on the future? Putting off the good things we can do right now can be just as risky as living in the past.
Your person or your goods, which is worth more?
Do you work on yourself as much as you work to earn money? Do the actions that earn you money also develop virtues? Earning money is not inherently problematic, not working to develop ourselves certainly is.
Men are continually seeking retreats for themselves, in the country, or by the sea, or among the hills. Yet all this is the sheerest folly, for it is open to you every hour to retreat into yourself.
Do you need a vacation? You bring yourself wherever you go and that should be a good thing. The break you need from your routine can happen anywhere and at any time if you understand that you are the source of happiness and peace.