In the last couple of days, I decided to start blogging more regularly on things that matter, that could help inspire new ways of looking at things and hopefully even start interesting conversations.
On the first pages of her book “Start Where You Are,” a Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, dishes out a compelling idea. She says that every one of us already has everything we need.
It is a provoking thought in my view, especially given the pervasive cultural tentacles of lack that threaten to stifle us at every corner, triggering an important conversation, I hope gets more attention. Because let’s face it, as more people are awakening to their truth, an ocean of us still listens, willingly or otherwise, to the mighty voice of the media, trends, advertisers, parents, authority figures, ego voice or what have you, that the truth is exactly the opposite – that we lack more than we have. As a result, life, instead of being a personal quest for self-realization, becomes an endless chase after something we can’t ultimately get, because even when do finally lose that weight, or lift that weight, or get that raise or title or whatever, a moment later we are onto the next thing, climbing the next mountain, conquering the next nation.
That’s because the attitude of lack, which is the core massage of the selling magnates of the world fighting for your dollar, promising that what they have will fill that hole, permeates our society the way ink seeps into paper. And worse of all, it is infecting young, impressionable minds. I remember when I was in college and we studied the exposure of children to television ads. It is getting progressively worse, with kids between ages of 2 and 11 seeing 25,600 ads per year. Can we recognize the impact this is having at shaping their sense of identity? What kind of future culture are we creating?
Anyway, back to Pema. What does she mean when she says that we already have everything we need? In her own words: “All these trips that we lay on ourselves – the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy, and the addictions of all kinds – never touch our basic wealth.” She goes on to say that while they may seem real, these thoughts and dark, painful emotions that stem from them are merely clouds that obstruct the sun of our true self that perpetually shines. We already have all that we seek – the lightness, the warmth, the luminosity and the love.
“We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.” – Pema Chodron
To further her message, Pema states that we don’t even need to work on ourselves. Self-improvement is not necessary because underneath that cover of clouds we are already perfect. The inner dialogue of not having enough or not looking good enough is nothing more than static, a dusty coat that serves no purpose and is essentially not true. But rather than fighting those thoughts, or denying that they are there, Pema suggests getting curious about them, looking at those fears for what they really are. Knowing what’s inside of us, seeing the anger, the rage, the resentments and envies is in itself a healing, the awareness and acceptance of their presence dissolving the grip, and ultimately chasing away the clouds.
Today I dare to ask – what would our world look like if we lived believing we are perfect as we are? What if we became kinder and gentler and dropped the heavy artillery aimed we keep aimed at ourselves? It might be hard. But I’m willing to try.
Will you try with me?
By the way, last night I was feeling a little under the weather so working with limited supplies, I accidentally made a really delicious black bean soup. Keeping with the Buddhist theme, it is completely vegan. Took me about 5 minutes.
In a small pot, combine the following and bring to boil:
½ can of organic black beans
1 shredded zucchini
1 chopped tomato
¼ chopped belle pepper
Coconut aminos* and/or salt to taste
*the aminos give the dish a sweeter, more flavorful taste. I’m completely hooked on this awesome product.