Today is November’s Full-Moon Uposatha observance day, referred to as Ānāpānasati Day in certain Theravada countries. Today is remembered as the day when the Buddha taught on the subject of mindfulness of breathing for the first time.
In thinking on mindfulness, I have come to realize how much of our lives tends to be spent thinking about what we want to be doing, but are not doing, for whatever reason. This way of thinking lends us toward unhappiness and discontent because we’re continually thinking about how much we don’t want to, for instance, be at work, in favor of watching TV or sleeping or whatever.
As the last couple of days have passed and the busy-factor at work has increased, I have tried to remember to not just be in the present moment, suffering through it, but to actually “want” to be wherever I am, doing whatever I’m doing at that time. If I’m at work and I’m working overtime but keep thinking about how much I’d rather be home playing video games, I will be unhappy, but if I choose to want to simply be, I can find happiness in whatever comes.
This is a sort of resolution on my part to not just try to be happy all of the time, but to actually get underneath the feeling of happiness and facilitate it coming to be. This can be done by restraining the mind from indulging it its random desires, whether that be wanting to eat when it is the wrong time, or play when it is time to work. When I truly want to be wherever I am doing whatever I am doing, for that moment, I am peaceful and happy even if everything (and everyone) around me is in chaos.
This is where I find my strength, in the fact that I have the ultimate choice in whether I am happy or unhappy at any given moment. I may not be perfect in exercising that choice skillfully, but the revelation is there, and I hope you can discover it for yourself as well.
Be well, friends. Be happy. I will write again soon.
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