October 24, 2013

What Do Corduroy Pants Have To Do with Buddha? ~ Sara Furay

Not long ago, I was purchasing a new pair of corduroy pants, several actually. 

As I was paying, the woman behind the counter said, “You’re so lucky, I can’t wear corduroy. The sound they make drives me nuts.”

I thought to myself, “What a funny, little duck this woman was and what a very odd thing to say.”

Now I admit, as I do with most conversations, this exchange got replayed a bit in my mind, but solely for amusement. Until one morning, I was walking the halls at work in my new pants and…


That’s right, I could hear my corduroy pants.

Great. Just perfect. This went on for much of the day and frankly it did kind of drive me nuts. I was annoyed. I was equally annoyed at both the pants and the woman who brought this to my attention. Who wants to hear their pants? I tried to stop hearing them but the more I tried to not hear them, the more I heard them. It really became a bother.

Later that day after I had arrived home, I realized at some point during the day, I had stopped hearing my pants.

When I turned my attention away from my pants and to the kids I was teaching and the other tasks of my day, I just stopped noticing my noisy corduroys.

This little run in with my pants really got me thinking about the whole idea of attending. Yes, noisy pants are pretty harmless, but what other thoughts might l be letting sneak into my head? Thoughts that may be directing my attention to somewhere I didn’t want it to be?

So, what do corduroy pants have to do with Buddha?

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.

~ Buddha

When I heard these words of Buddha’s in yoga, it brought up all of the thoughts I had been having about this idea of attending, of noticing.

The power of our thoughts is probably one of the most discussed topics. We hear a lot about positive thinking and visualizing but I think we can underestimate this simple notion of noticing.

Our world begins to fill with that which we give our attention.

We must pay attention to what we are thinking and noticing because that is what we will think and notice more.

What are the “noisy pants” in your life?

What thoughts have crept in that are redirecting your attention?

Are there words someone has spoken to you, or complaints you have heard?

Maybe it’s something big like worry or maybe it’s some smaller irritation like grumpy people in line. We don’t want our world filled with more worry, more grumpy people, more complaining; but that’s exactly what will happen, if that’s what we mostly notice.

If you are one of those mind over matter, don’t let your brain think about it types, you are lucky and have a powerful Jedi mind. I’m not like that. When I tell myself: I don’t need a cookie, I want the cookie. My pants won’t silence because I will them to. We all have thoughts that aren’t helpful to us and there are just going to be things in the world that bug us, and that’s OK. But these things don’t have to be the things that fill up our lives.

As Buddha said, “…with our thoughts we make our world.”

We have the ability to custom make our world, tailored just to our unique selves and the things that make us happy.

We shouldn’t waste it. We shouldn’t give fuel to anything unhelpful or negative. Instead we should make a purposeful effort to notice the things that make us happy and shape our worlds into what we want.

What do you want in see more of in your world?

What really makes you happy, what amuses you and makes you chuckle out loud?

What makes you smile?

It’s different for each of us and that’s why no one can tackle this task but ourselves. But whatever it is, search for it, seek it out with intention, find it in the world.  Make note of it and notice how much more of it you will begin to see.

It’s much better than some noisy pants.

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Assistant Ed: Kristina Peterson/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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Sara Furay