Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Reflections

Today is a messy day. The day began with the sun shinning brightly, then light wet snow, which transformed into rain. Now as of this writing it is cloudy, cold, and damp. Winter is coming there is no avoiding it, it happens every year at this time. I don't particularly dislike winter, it is just that I enjoy the warm sun beaming down on me more.

I decided to go shopping for groceries before the weather got too messy. I listened to Ajahn Brahm a Buddhist Monk from Western Australia, on my ipod as I drove to Kanata. (http://video.google.ca/videosearch?q=ajahn+brahm&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&resnum=5&ct=title#q=ajahn%20brahm&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&client=firefox-a&um=1&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&resnum=5&ct=title&start=40). Today's topic was power, specifically letting go of it.

We are creatures of habit, mostly living life in automatic pilot. But until we start paying attention, being mindful, life will pass us by in a blink of an eye. For me being mindful really is about living in the present, and paying attention in the moment. This is not always easy, but it is getting easier as time goes on.

We hold tightly to controlling aspects of our life, relationships, children and even things which are out of our control. I admit that I like to be in control, doesn't everyone? I am a methodical planner, and I think through all the possibilities before I take action (risk). But living life this way is stressful, particularly when things are out of your control. How do we begin to let go of our desire for control, and do we want to?

Meanwhile, since I am meditating more regularly, and I've found great sources of Bodhidharma talks, I am finding it easier to let go of my need for control. I say to myself, does this really matter, now?

For example, I was talking about my to trip Australia at the end of this month, and I mentioned to my friend that I was not looking forward to the 27 hours of actual travel time to get there. But just as I was saying that, I thought, the journey does not just begin when I arrive in Melbourne, travel there is part of the journey. So, I decided that I was going to enjoy every part of the journey to Melbourne, even parts that are out of my control. So if the plane is delayed, or I sit next to a grumpy person, crying babies, my luggage is lost, whatever this trip has in store, bring it on. I say, ha! because it just does not matter. It will be what it is. No worries.

Then life happens, the airline rescheduled my flight and consequently for the first leg of the flight I am not traveling with my husband and son. We will meet in LA and board the same flight to Melbourne. When I called the airlines, I noticed the flight was booked in my first name, which was different than my new passport (for some reason they only put one of my names on the passport). Meaning I either had to chance being denied entry into another country or worst have trouble getting back into my country. At the very minimum, I would have issues with immigration. Okay. Deep breath in and slow deep breath out and down to the passport office I went to correct it. It all worked out and I am being issued a new passport.

Letting go of control does not always mean do nothing. In other words, when faced with a situation, stop, silence your mind and concentrate on your breath. Make an assessment, what can you do about it. Move into action, without getting angry, depressed, or giving up. Too often it is our emotions that prevent us from seeing clearly and missing opportunities that could make our life better. It is being in a calm state, and present that makes a difficult situation easier to rectify. An example Ajahn Brahm likes to give is delays at the airport. No matter how upset one gets, banging on the desk, getting angry at the attendant, none of this brings the arrival of the plane any sooner.

Freedom is letting go of always wanting to be in control, but it is just as important to move into action calmly when the situation call for you to do that, and knowing difference.

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