Hello my fellow human Beings:
On Saturday, my partner and I went to see the movie, Admission starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. (Note: For those of you who are 30 Rock fans, the movie reunites Tina Fey and Michael Sheen (the other Wesley Snipes) as on-screen love interests.)
It is a movie about the workings of an admissions office at an Ivy League US university and how the lead character, played by Tina Fey, an admissions officer, spends her days passing judgement on potential students. It shows how the judgements she makes of others (and of herself) land her on a perilous roller coaster ride through life.
Through her judgements and reactions, which snowball into more judgements and reactions, she formulates unrealistic expectations, false hopes, and ego boosts and bangs. All of which take her to unexplainable highs that easily turn into disappointing (and some devastating) lows.
By letting her ego’s desires for praise or avoidance of embarrassment rule her actions and reactions, she goes through rough life situations filled with suffering and heart ache.
She’s not alone on this roller coaster ride. We all tend to let our egos rule our reactions and actions and we experience suffering – heart ache, pain, misery – over and over again.
In The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation, mediation guru, S.N. Goenka comments on the Buddha’s first sermon related to this topic:
“The real kamma, the real cause of suffering is the reaction of the mind. One fleeting reaction of liking or disliking may not be very strong and may not give much result, but it can have a cumulative effect. The reaction is repeated moment after moment, intensifying with each repetition, and developing into craving or aversion. This is what in his first sermon the Buddha called taṇhā, literally ‘thirst’: the mental habit of insatiable longing for what is not, which implies an equal and irremediable dissatisfaction with what is. And the stronger longing and dissatisfaction become, the deeper their influence on our thinking, our speech, and our actions – and the more suffering they will cause.”
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If we just stop, let go of our ego’s reactions and judgements, and just accept life as it is, we can be at peace.
S. N. Goenka continues to offer the Buddha’s wisdom on how to free ourselves from suffering (as noted in the same book):
“The first step toward emerging from such suffering is to accept the reality of it, not as a philosophical concept or an article of faith, but as a fact of existence which affects each one of us in our lives. With this acceptance and an understanding of what suffering is and why we suffer, we can stop being driven and start to drive. By learning to realize directly our own nature, we can set ourselves on the path leading out of suffering.”
By letting go of judgement and accepting the realities of life, whether pleasant or unpleasant, as they are, not as we wish them to be, we start to let go of those reactions that lead to suffering and we can bring more peace, joy and love into our lives.
This may mean accepting that our child won’t be the doctor we hoped she would be, or that our perfectly planned out life won’t unfold exactly as we had envisioned. But if we embrace the new paths that do unfold in our lives, accepting them as the reality of what is, without fear or judgement, then who knows what possibilities lie ahead of us and what new and different avenues to abundance may be revealed.
So this week, I encourage you to let go of your ego’s judgements and reactions, PAUSE before you act or react, and be still with the reality of what is – unclouded by emotions, old baggage triggers, and fears. Meditate and reflect on what is. Connect with Your True Self that is One with all that is at the essence peace, love and happiness. Then practice acceptance, understanding and loving-kindness and you’ll walk away from suffering and towards a life of abundance.