Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rewriting the First Noble Truth to be the First TOTALLY AWESOME Truth

I just wrote about how I almost killed all the new awesome in my life with anxiety, and I have been trying to pay closer attention to my approach to the current challenges of starting a small business since I discovered that basically I was approaching it via FREAKING OUT.

Part of how I got myself into a more grateful approach to my challenges was by filling my brain with the work of people who focus on that, like this guy and this guy in particular.

I have said it in the past and I will probably say it again a million times to myself and to you: I would rather be happy with the freaks than sad with the cynics (who mistake themselves for the intellectuals).

One of the things that has come up for me is the Buddha's First Noble Truth, translated in a couple of ways, including "Life is suffering" or the softer, lighter attempt, "Suffering exists."

Well, no shit, Sherlock.

I realized, when thinking this through, that using the First Noble Truth as a foundational belief is really getting us nowhere.  Or at least, a lot of us.

It can easily be used as an excuse for staying stuck. (Notice I did not say, "It is ALWAYS used as an excuse for staying stuck.")

I know too many people who have crap happen, and they throw up their shoulders and say, "Well...Life IS suffering after all.."



Let's think this through.

If your foundational belief is "suffering exists," (which is really like a no-brainer), what does this do to your outlook?  What does it do to your approach?  Do you then tend to see more suffering because you expect it?  Do you hold onto suffering like a badge?  Do you become "too comfortable" with your suffering?

I certainly was approaching a lot of good in my life expecting eventual suffering.

I could barely be happy about having my own studio, for goodness sake, waiting for a shoe or a hundred to drop.

I wonder what "suffering exists" as a continual mantra does to our hearts?  What does it do to our willpower?

I have decided not to say that anymore.

First of all, I do not agree with it in a fundamental way.

I think life is beauty, truth, love, joy.   I think shit happens -- some really difficult shit -- but I also believe our Joy is so big that we are quite capable of finding good even on our worst days.

For the most part, we wouldn't survive if shit happening were the day-to-day norm.  We wouldn't even want to get up in the morning, much less feed ourselves or...breathe.

Second, I also believe that, in large part, you get what you expect.

So it seems uber-important to make sure our internal mantras are in alignment with what we want from life.

So let's rewrite the First Noble Truth, shall we?

The First TOTALLY AWESOME Truth:  Life is Joy. Joy exists.

Repeat that over and over and see how you feel at the end of the day.


treeluvr87 said...

I love what you're saying. Life is definitely joy! I still hold much respect for the four noble truths, but together as an entity. I believe that focusing only on this first noble truth can be a hinderance, as you've said. In my own life, I've found that it's important to focus on the truths as a whole. Because then they are actually very, very positive and definitely a mantra I can keep turning to in my life. Namaste!

Dimond said...

I agree! I think life was meant to be way more simple and joyful than we've been taught to believe. We've just learned how to make everything so complicated. I don't get how one can be spiritual and believe life is suffering as buddhists do (though I agree with many of their other beliefs). Anytime we're repeating something negative, we're creating it. Just focus on love and joy and everything good so you can live that way and feel great, while giving as little attention as possible to anything negative.

Congrats on your studio, btw. Been proud and sending best wishes from afar. :)

Debbie-Anne Parent said...

Way to turn that around! Once we can find acceptance that suffering exists but that we are separate from it, the joy of everyday life can be experienced. I love your message and I thank you for sharing it :)

Em said...

I am such a big believer in this! I believe life is generally a wonderful place to be, interesting, exciting, full of promise and possibility.

I, too, would rather be counted with the freaks.

Janice said...

Love this! Though it has a funny twist: The Buddha was a pessimist?

Anonymous said...

Love this.. Have you read "A course in miracles"? the book.

i think you would really like it. it is all about this.