How to not be a basket case in a mad, mad world.

File under ‘Things I wish I’d learnt in Preschool’.

When you were little, and if I’m honest this probably only applies to the women reading, how often were you told ‘if you don’t react, he’ll stop doing it.‘ Argh, this used to make my blood boil, even as a very young girl. Tell him to stop doing it, I’d scream, more often than not silently, at myself in the mirror.

As frustrating as it was to hear that, at its very heart, there is wisdom in that directive, not that there was anything other than frustration and exhaustion behind the words when my parents said them.

Don’t react? Easy…

I wish! It would have taken the patience of a Zen Buddhist monk to put up with the annoying crap my brother used to do.

easy for you to say, Wazza

But we’re all doing our best, aren’t we? I had some great teachers and some truly abyssmal ones. Strangely enough, it was both groups that inspired me to train as a teacher but it was fear of being one of the terrible ones that stopped me from going into the classroom. I didn’t want to do it if I couldn’t do it perfectly. Kids’ futures were at stake! I felt so inadequate and just knew I would stuff up somehow and a child’s life would be ruined! Ruined!!

No-one else seemed to be having these thoughts, but that could be because we didn’t discuss things like that back in the day, and we certainly didn’t post about it on Facebook (by golly we would have if we’d had it!) It’s so great that we can admit now that we’re struggling and it’s (mostly) no longer looked at as weakness.

How great it would have been if our parents and teachers could admit they were struggling, that they don’t know everything. I heard someone say recently that Milennials are the first generation of adults to admit they haven’t got it all figured out, that adulting is really, really difficult and even finding a carpark can push us over the edge.

How do we keep it together and not react? I truly believe that self-development and a daily meditation practice are the magic pills that we’re all looking for. Case in point; me. When I do the work, I feel better. When I don’t, I lose my way. It’s that simple. When I meditate daily, and do my journaling, I am a better human. And people notice. I used to be a proper pain the arse and people close to me have noticed that I am far more pleasant to be around. Not to brag or anything… 😉

I had very selfish motivations for my growth; I wanted to feel better! It was a happy accident that it made some people around me feel better too.

We have to actively seek knowledge, strength, growth and healing. The alternative is worse than stagnation. We don’t stay the same, we devolve (I just looked that up to see if it’s an actual word. It is.) I beleive that if you’re not growing, you’re dying and as painful as growth can be, degeneration is far worse in the long run.

Journal Prompt: What can I do better tomorrow than I did today? For me, I can avoid calling my husband a mean name when he doesn’t know how to use the computer thingy. I could probably write 1000 words on this topic. Sorry, Hubby.

The Buddha said cool stuff about this, all those years ago. He sat under a tree and was still stressed! He never had to find a carpark on December 24th with a screaming toddler in the car, but hey, each to their own!

What are the four noble truths? Buddhism’s four truths are called noble because they liberate us from suffering. They are the Buddha’s basic teaching, encapsulating the entire Buddhist path. (From The Lion’s Roar.)

1. Suffering

Life always involves suffering, in obvious and subtle forms. Even when things seem good, we always feel an undercurrent of anxiety and uncertainty inside. (Ain’t that the truth!)

2. The Cause of Suffering

The cause of suffering is craving and fundamental ignorance. We suffer because of our mistaken belief that we are a separate, independent, solid “I.” The painful and futile struggle to maintain this delusion of ego is known as samsara, or cyclic existence.

3. The End of Suffering

The good news is that our obscurations are temporary. They are like passing clouds that obscure the sun of our enlightened nature, which is always present. Therefore, suffering can end because our obscurations can be purified and awakened mind is always available to us.

4. The Path

By living ethically, practicing meditation, and developing wisdom, we can take exactly the same journey to enlightenment and freedom from suffering that the buddhas do. We too can wake up.

Feature Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash