I find great comfort from reading James Ure’s Buddhist Blog. Once again, Buddhism is a philosophy or way of life and I treasure its history in my family as a means of connection similar to that of religion and prayer. Although it seems ritualistic and filled with idolatry, the thought-practice of Buddhism itself embodies the core benefit of all religions: a behavioral path that will better the life within and the lives of those around us.
A stand of trees or bamboo doesn’t fight the wind; it survives the inevitable winds of change by swaying with its energy. If it tried to resist powerful gusts, it would break apart. [Its] deep roots help anchor the tree by steadily pushing deeper and deeper into the ground. In this way, the tree itself can bend and adapt without uprooting itself from overwhelming stress upon a weak root system.
We deepen our roots by staying anchored in the knowledge that the present moment is where growth occurs. If a mature tree’s roots stopped growing deeper than the surface area it occupied as a sapling, then the smallest breeze would uproot it and knock it down. The same is true if we stubbornly stop growing, out of fear of failing, or just plain arrogantly thinking that we know it all already and can therefore stop adapting. This is when the roots of a tree rot from neglect; as well as from failing to dig deeper to create stronger roots that widen out into a broad network of stability.
I’m facing my own difficulties in life right now, particularly in my job and my writing. But then I remind myself that speculation on what I could’ve done better in the past or daydreaming the possibilities in the future is a futile exercise. All I have is myself, in this moment, in the NOW – and now is the instant of change that I must initiate if I want to better myself and my situation.
I’m often told that I need to be more assertive, and I think that is sound advice. I have found a way to cultivate the assertive Karen by removing some of my fear- fear of repercussions from other people who have already negatively influenced my life and fear of the unknown chain reaction that my actions may cause. As long as I seek to better myself, to be benevolent to others and seek a path of integrity, then I can proudly and justly believe that I am doing the right thing.
Sorry if most of that was cryptic and nonsensical. I admit this to be a highly cathartic entry.