Monday, 31 December 2018

Ain’t That Enough

One reliable guide for how to be on more realistic and, therefore, better terms with life is Ajahn Chah, a Thai Buddhist monk who was famous for his training of senior western meditation teachers.

Regarding the central human concern of how to live wisely, he used an analogy of doing good mathematics: subtracting when you need to subtract, adding when you need to add, and so on. Knowing what is appropriate, and when, is what gives you the right answer, suggested Ajahn Chah.

The problem, as he saw it, was that humans are prone to forgetting how best to operate in given circumstances due to our tendency for always wanting to multiply – to have more, more, more.

Time, money, power, status, fun, freedom, friends… the list goes on. How easy it is to always want more. But when there is no sense of enough, there is no lasting contentment to be found. And so we suffer.

Conversely, when we have the thought “okay, this is plenty”, when we value the measure of “enough”, then we are no longer on-the-take with life and able to live with ease.

What is the pay-off, according to Ajahn Chah, for developing such a humble and non-acquisitional attitude to life?

He put it like this: “Your mind will become still in any surroundings, like a clear forest pool. All kinds of wonderful and rare animals will come to drink at the pool, and you will clearly see the nature of all things. You will see many marvellous and strange things come and go, but you will be still. This is the happiness of the Buddha.”

Grand Narratives (III)

Where and how do you ‘situate’ mindfulness in your life? The previous two posts overview why this is a valuable question to consider. Wise r...