I was recently reading about a story that the well-known Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, poet, writer, scholar etc, Thich Nhat Hanh, tells in his book, The Miracles of Mindfulness:
A king, who was always keen to make the 'right' decisions took great pains to formulate an exacting science that would help him in this matter. He eventually came up with three questions that he believed would lead him to the wisdom he sought. The counsellor that he put these questions to did give him some answers but they were hardly the ones he was expecting.
The three questions were:
1. What is the most important time for doing anything?
2. Who is the most important person to be doing things with?
3. What is the most important thing to do?
You might want to have a go at answering these questions yourself before continuing to read....J
Well, here are the answers:
1. The most important time is NOW
2. The most important person is the one you are with right now
3. The most important thing to do is to create conditions that enable another's happiness
I feel you will find these answers useful for reflection just as I have.
During Carlos Castenada's apprenticeship with his shaman-mentor, Don Juan, he learnt a great deal about himself, particularly his own sense of self-importance. It was this sense of self-importance that allowed him to believe in his immortality, i.e.. that he had all the time in the world. According to Don Juan, it is this belief that permits us to be petty - to have and hold petty/crappy thoughts, for if we knew with our entire being (and not just intellectually as most of us do) that the only time we are guaranteed is NOW, most of us would have a radically different approach to life. The popular psychologist, Wayne Dyer, often quotes Don Juan's exhortation: Act as if today is the last day of your life! In a different style, this message is also the main thesis of Sogyal Rinpoche's best-seller, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
It seems to me that the start of a new year is a wonderful time for reviewing and assessing our attitude to life. It is an opportune time to consider how we want our life to be different to what it has so far been. This recognition of what we want can then become the simple, yet powerful intentions sthat we express and hold. These intentions are the magnet that attracts just what is needed to manifest them!
May we remain open to the wonder and magic of our true nature! Lucy