Having acceptance to other religions, theories, beliefs, etc. has opened my eyes to a new way of thinking and approaching life. There is a lot to learn from Western belief systems and it is something I stumbled across in a store in Seattle, WA. The book is called ZEN and the Art of Happinessby Chris Prentiss. It's a little book with a little fat guy and a fat grin on his face (he must've read the book!). It's Buddha if you haven't figured that out. Anyway, there are some great quotes in this book and it made me realize how connected all of the major world religions are. I keep coming across the idea of staying in the moment and avoiding the busy mind. This can be found in so many writings by the most brilliant minds that walked on this planet. It is still possible to have a strong Christian faith while learning from others. Prentiss even says, "Zen is a journey of exploration and a way of living that, in and of itself, does not belong to any one religion or tradition". It is something that we can all BeneFIT from and help us lead healthier lives!
Prentiss basically starts out the book by asking simple questions about whether you are happy with your current situation, your life, your possessions and if you are keep doing the same things. If not, the choice is yours to make the changes to be the person you want to be. It is a simple idea, but yet so effective if you are willing to embrace these thoughts or lack there of. Let me throw some quotes at you from this book:
"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded on our thought, it is made up of our thoughts." - The Dhammapada
"The true man sees what the eye sees, and does not add to it something that is not there. He hears what the ears hear, and does not detect imaginary undertones or overtones. He...is not busy with hidden meanings." - Chuang Tzu
"When you find yourself in a trying situation, that's when you go to work, reminding yourself of this truth and causing yourself to act as though whatever is causing the difficulty is for your maximum benefit." - Prentiss
"The Universe doesn't make mistakes. Everything is happening just as it should. It's only our perception of difficulties that causes us the distress and the difficulty we experience. Not only that, but when we label events as "bad", we fail to perceive the benefit that is waiting for us." - Prentiss
How many times have you heard this throughout history?! There are so many distractions in our world today that we don't have time to hear the birds chirp and calm the mind and we wonder why anxiety levels are through the roof.
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?" -Dogen (love that!)
"Your worst enemy cannot harm you
As much as your own thought, unguarded.
But once mastered,
No one can help you as much."
- The Dhammapada
This is something that we may come back to in the field of medicine, Greek physician Hippocrates, who is considered to be the father of medicine, told his students that negative emotions cause disease and that positive emotions are a crucial factor in recovery! So poorly accepted in Eastern medicine and I hope we figure that out sooner than later.
Avoid expectations. Expectations set you up for failure.
"You should not be surprised at whatever you see or hear...If you are ready to accept things as they are, you will receive them as old friends."
- Shunryu Suzuki
"The Universe always strikes at your weakest point because that's what most needs strengthening." - Prentiss
"The miracle is not to fly in the air or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth." - Chinese Proverb
"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."
- Bhaddekaratta Sutta
These are all simple methods of thinking yet so effective and repeated so often throughout history (for a reason)! Hopefully, this relaxed your mind! Please share so we can all BeneFIT!