Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Observing respiration is also the means for practicing right awareness. Our suffering stems from ignorance. We react because we do not know what we are doing, because we do not know the reality of ourselves. The mind spends most of the time lost in fantasies and illusions, reliving pleasant or unpleasant experiences and anticipating the future with eagerness or fear. While lost in such cravings or aversions, we are unaware of what is happening now, what we are doing now. Yet surely this moment, now, is the most important for us. We cannot live in the past; it is gone. Nor can we live in the future; it is forever beyond our grasp. We can live only in the present. If we are unaware of our present actions, we are condemned to repeating the mistakes of the past and can never succeed in attaining our dreams for the future. But if we can develop the ability to be aware of the present moment, we can use the past as a guide for ordering our actions in the future, so that we may attain our goal.

--S.N. Goenka, in The Art of Livingfrom Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book


Blogger Pòl S. McNealey said...

Well said. This also echoes the thoughts in this book, that Nick lent to me a while back when I was suffering from 911 PTSD and some career uncertainty.

Though the lessons were common sense (living too much in the future or the past creates unnecessary anxiety and stress), it took several years for me to integrate those ideas into my daily routine.

It's still a struggle, but things are much easier today than they were.

12:04 PM  

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