When is there suffering in the Garden of Eden?

Hello my fellow human Beings:

Picture your dream destination — that place that you fantasize about as being your little slice of heaven on earth.

Imagine the beautiful, lush surroundings, the warm weather, the sweet smells in the air, and the cooling breezes on your skin.  As you look around with your mind’s eye, take in all the colourful flora and fauna and listen to all the melodious sounds.

Now if you pack your bags, get on your airplane and actually go there for the first time, what is it like for you then?

Is it all peaceful and rosy as you imagined it?

Or is your mind creating another reality while you are there?

  •  Who’s lurking behind that tree?
  • What’s that noise – a wild animal or a robber?
  • Why is that deer looking at me in that funny way?
  • Is it safe to talk to this snake?
  • Will I get sick if I eat this fruit?

Our minds can create fear, doubt and worry for us even in paradise.

The negative thoughts and emotions that arise in our minds and our reactions to the unknowns of a new place, even our fantasized dream destination, can cause us suffering in the Garden of Eden.

S.N. Goenka, a retired successful businessman turned highly respected lay Vipassana meditation teacher, in the book, The Art of Living, reminds us that our mental actions cause the next results in our lives.  He reiterates this truth spoken by the Buddha:

 “Mind precedes all phenomena, mind matters most, everything is mind-made.

If with an impure mind you speak or act,

 then suffering follows you

as the cartwheel follows the foot of the draft animal.

If with a pure mind you speak or act,

then happiness follows you

as a shadow that never departs.”         [Dhammapada I. 1&2]

So we should remember that wherever we go, whether near or far, whether the Garden of Eden or Dante’s Inferno, our minds create the reality we experience in that place.

If we let negative thoughts and emotions fill our minds, then suffering will be our constant companion.  BUT, if we work at not reacting and not judging, and we purify our minds through regular times of stillness and meditation, then we will connect to the pure essence of ourselves, and happiness will follow us all the days of our lives wherever we go.

For if I can truly BE, then wherever I go, there I AM and in that way I will live abundantly and so can you!

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