December 20

Today's quotation:

Put down your opinion, your condition, your situation, then you will not be stuck.  Always stay open.  Working in a gas station will be no problem, or cleaning someone's house.  If you are holding your idea, "I want a high-class job, or a house, or a car," then you will have a problem.  Zen means put everything down.  Then you can control any situation or condition.

Seung Sahn

Today's Meditation:

Zen so often seems to be contrary to Western thought.  When he says "put down," he means "stop carrying around with you."  Stop judging everything by what you think it should be, and accept it for what it is, and you'll find yourself feeling happier and healthier, with much less stress in your life.  So much of what brings us down in life happens to be our own thoughts, being critical of our own situations and conditions because we think they should be something different than they are.  But for now, they aren't.

When you accept things for what they are, then you can work to change them, but nothing can be changed until it's accepted, after all.  Putting down our desire for a better job allows us to do our current job much better, and it allows us to be open to new possibilities and opportunities.  But if I'm working as a teacher and I'm thinking I should be a CEO, then I'm going to have a problem focusing on my work rather than focusing on what I think I should be (but am not).  I can become a better teacher and do my work well and keep at it, or I can do my work well and start to work towards becoming a businessperson--either way, right here and right now, I'm a teacher, not a CEO, and I won't be happy as such when I'm thinking I should be something else.

Sometimes we like to wish things were different than they are.  There are even self-help "gurus" who tell you to do things like "fake it till you make it," which is telling you to pretend that things aren't as they are until they change, most likely on their own, since all you're doing is pretending that they aren't what they are.  I think a more practical piece of advice is to accept what is for what it is, and then figure out what changes you want, and then do something practical to make those changes come true.

Things are as they are--that's simply a truth of life.  That doesn't mean that they need to stay as they are, of course.  We can always do something to change them, but not until we acknowledge and accept them just as they are.  Life is a beautiful experience full of many wonderful things, but until we put down our thoughts that things should be different than they are, we're living a kind of illusion that is more than likely far from healthy.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people want things in their lives to be different?

What kinds of things in your life do you need to accept as they are?  What do you wish were different?

What happens if we don't accept things as they are before trying to make important changes?
For further thought:

If you understand, things are just as they are;
if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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