Live for Today
(Hmm, sounds like something right out of a predatory employer's handbook!)
"I only go around once, so I am going to enjoy every minute of it!"
(Okay, but what if every minute isn't quite as enjoyable as you'd like? What then? Do you rob a bank so you can enjoy yourself more? But how enjoyable is being on the run the rest of your life, or sitting in an 8 by 5 cell? Is it enjoyable to find yourself caught in a mindset where only money can make you happy? Maybe - if you're Donald Trump!)
"I'm going to live for today and not worry about the future, I'll handle whatever comes along."
(This is an interesting attitude, and very prevalent. Examples are husbands reading Sunday newspapers in church parking lots, smoking cigarettes, while wives are inside attending mass and trying to get to heaven.)
More scenarios exist, perhaps as many as there are individuals, and all of them have one thing in common; they are destined to disappoint us. When we saddle ourselves with rigid convictions, we become blind to other possibilities. Wisdom is then sacrificed for belief. Belief puts the brakes on further inquiry, and whether we believe in a religion, a philosophy, or believe that we believe in nothing! We negate further development.
"I'm going to keep my mind clear of concrete opinions and be alert to all possibilities at all times."
This is more like it, and only the fearless can utter it. Those afraid will, every time, stop at some weak finality and cloak themselves in a perceived security. Whether it is a belief, a movement, another person, or the millions of other trips we can take to shield ourselves from the truth that we don't exist in the way we think we do, we will seek refuge in it. But the problem is; there is no refuge outside of ourselves. Only within our deepest being is the true refuge to be found.
The fearless understand this. They understand their existence and all its ramifications, because they have the courage to look deeply into it. And they are free, free to all possibilities. They have crossed a certain threshold that must be crossed, otherwise, we find ourselves in a constant state of discontent regardless of how hard we try to believe that everything is okay. It's a sad state of affairs, and it doesn't have to be that way.
So, how do we become fearless? It's simple; we arrive at the point where we have nothing left to lose. But we don't arrive at that point via hopelessness, we arrive at it from complete freedom. This is the only way to free ourselves from everything; to be fundamentally liberated.
And it all begins with the simple effort of meditating once a day
Copyright © E. Raymond Rock 2006. All rights reserved.
Related Tags: philosophy, belief, heaven, meditating, fearless, rigid convictions, religin, liberated
E. Raymond Rock is cofounder and principal teacher at the Southwest Florida Insight Center in Fort Myers Florida. His 28 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents, including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk. He has practiced with Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Maha Boowa, Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Tui, Bhante Gunaratana, Roshi Kennett, Seung Sahn Sunim, Trungpa Rinpoche, the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco. His new book, A Year to Enlightenment (Career Press/New Page Books), is available at major bookstores and on-line.
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