Buddha taught that our mind creates our reality. Our mind creates our life and whether we are happy or unhappy.In Buddhism, we look deeply at HOW our minds create our reality. The mechanics of the creation of every moment of your consciousness involve the five all- accompanying mental factors.
- Contact – making contact with an object
- Feeling – a mental factor that experiences a pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral feeling. * Feeling functions to experience OUR karma
- Perception – identifies the object and categorizes it as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral
- Intention – Moves our mind to the object. Function to CREATE karma
- Attention – Focuses on specific attributes of an object. We either focus on something with “appropriate attention” that gives rise to peace, or inappropriate attention that gives rise to suffering.
Let’s consider an example of how a moment of suffering is created…First, we experience an unpleasant feeling (due to our karma), but we discriminate the person in front of us as the cause of the pain and as “bad”. Then we focus on the faults of the person with inappropriate attention, which generates our anger. Anger causes us to have the intention to harm that person because we are feeling upset. If we continue to dwell on the faults of the person (aka inappropriate attention) will continue to be angry and feel bad.
Conversely, we can create a peacefull reality by responding differnly to difficult situations or people. Three new ways to respond that will help you maintain peace are:
1. Gratitude: what are you grateful for in this situation? Try to think of at least five things you are grateful for.
2. Are there good qualities about this circumstance or person? Please contemplate at least a few good qualities you sincerely observe.
3. Try to generate compassion for the person, or for yourself. Compassion is a mind that lloks deeply at the suffering that is there, and, out of love, wishes to take that suffering away. Remember that happy people don’t go around making other people unhappy. Unhappy people inadvertently cause other people to suffer.
Daily Mindfullnes Practice:
Choose which of these three methods (gratitude, contemplating their good quailiteis, or compassion) that most moved your mind toward peace. Determine to put this method into practice in the coming week; let it be like a sword of mindfulness, cutting through pain. Whenever unpleasant feelings start to arise about this partilcar situation, remember the method you chose and put it into practice. Feel compassion for the person, contemplate their good qualities, or try to feel gratitude. You can do it! Your happiness depends on it!
“All experience is created by mind
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a corrupted mind
And suffering follows,
As the wagon wheel follows the hoof of an ox.
All experience is created by mind
Led by mind,
Made by mind.
Speak or act with a peaceful mind,
And happiness follows
Like a never-departing shadow.”
Let me know how your practice goes…You can reach me on the following–
Abhidharmasamuccaya (The Compendium of Higher Training) by Asanga. Originally translated into French by Warhol Rahula; translated from French into English by Sara Boin-Webb
The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations, by Gil Fronsdale