We need enlightenment, not just individually but collectively, to save the planet. We need to awaken ourselves. We need to practice mindfulness if we want to have a future, if we want to save ourselves and the planet. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Though there is no time, we are bound by it. Life begins, then it ends. We keep adding to a pile of moments, a stack of days, sandwiched between our first breath and our last.
The question of the day is this: how can we best use our time and energy?
Here are some vices I am striving to weed out of the garden of my life; I just don’t have the time and energy for them anymore.
1. Lies and gossip
Otherwise known as the opposite of mindful speech. And the lies and gossip that go on inside my own head are way worse than any rumors spread around town.
2. General negativity and manipulative media
The mainstream media is generally terrible. Of course we all love to hate FOX “news,” but leftist channels like CNN and MSNBC can be just as bad in their own way. I realize it’s brainwashing, and I refuse to tune in for that.
3. Lazy thinking
In other words, fundamentalism. Christian, Islamic, any kind of black-and-white, good-versus-evil thinking is to be avoided like the plague. This includes self-hate.
Nonstop complainers, both my own inner voices and those nagging comrades who always find reasons to bitch and moan.
This group ranges from petty criminals to our society’s biggest oppressors—rich, powerful, greedy corporate executives and the politicians who cater to them
The bad kind of “help,” giving our money and/or time out of guilt or pity. This is happening on a grand scale in the world. If we give charity instead of teaching, mentoring and offering our open hearts and minds, we are dis-empowering the very people whom we are claiming to empower.
7. Environmental unconsciousness
Littering, people (sometimes including myself) who don’t compost, reduce, reuse or recycle. SUVs. The production and purchasing of so much plastic junk. Americanization.
8. Injustice and inequality
White people who deny the power of white privilege. Corrupt members of the police and military forces. Corrupt government officials. Rapists. Gang members. Bullies. I hear the voice of Bob Marley echoing in my ears. “Get up! Stand up! Stand up for your rights!”
Here are the virtues I choose to cultivate instead with my precious life and personal power:
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Mindfulness is often spoken of as the heart of Buddhist meditation. It’s not about Buddhism, but about paying attention. That’s what all meditation is, no matter what tradition or particular technique is used.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” ~Tony Robbins
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~ Thomas Merton
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” ~ Karl Barth
“Kindness, I’ve discovered, is everything in life.” ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
“You are simply a medium and as long as you stay open to giving and receiving it, love will never leave or die.” ~ K. Renae
Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: loveisnotavictorymarch at flickr