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 “What to remember when you forget the point of life”

There is no point to life but the secret to remember is this, the less we want for ourselves the less problematic life seems. It is still true, however, this reduction of “wanting” is the most difficult skill to attain. It is what the spiritual life is all about. We are not seeking to arrive anywhere, only to wake up to the truth of who we are, the unsayable, indefinable endless stream, the timeless and eternal current of life. However, in this world we have constructed for ourselves a mask over this truth, a small ego, a self-identity that is so clever as to make each of our perceived “basic needs” appear reasonable and justifiable. But even the Buddha, who turned away from sense objects, food, shelter and friends, in order to follow a path of self denial, ultimately came to the conclusion that “life forces us to play at some level.” No matter how hard we try to escape or dismiss ourselves from the game, we still face inevitable suffering even in doing less and less; therefore, having the right sense of balance is the only reasonable way to live.

But this balance is not an external situation. It is not a certain secure level of circumstance, but rather, an inner position we must take within ourselves. It is a choice we make in each moment. We must understand that the external world is the result of our previous activity and thoughts. The only power we have is our power to choose the present moment and nothing else. Our dilemma is always an inner problem, one that must be handled with full attention. Whenever there is confusion and a feeling that the struggles of life are pointless, it is because we have bought into the ego-trap, the big lie of our false identity and are living, once again, in memory and expectation (past and future) and not in present moment awareness. Freedom requires that we surrender to our natural power of focused attention – focusing only on what is happening instead of dwelling on our interpretations about life.

The middle path is one that is not too tight, not too loose. We have to function amid the contradictory forces and keep our mind and body settled as much as possible. If an activity gets too frustrating for us, then we should stop doing it altogether. Stop struggling to make things work in the world. Walk away from it until it feels right again. Navigate with mindful attention rather than with memory or expectation (brain dominate data). Don’t trust the thinking mind to understand anything. Trust only moment to moment awareness of what’s happening and the right choices will be made effortlessly.

Remember, we must work to have the things we need in order to live. That is a fact of life in this world, so it is wise to minimize our needs and wants as much as we can. It is reasonable to allow ourselves to experience the pleasure of stillness, gentle activity, food, rest and leisure. This is the balanced way to walk the world of samsara, to work, to earn money or grow food and merely break even - to eat and stay slightly unfulfilled, to rest in order to gain the strength to work again, to be born only to face dying again. Everything has its cycles: sun and moon, winter and summer, clarity and confusion, life and death. And all of this is for no purpose whatsoever. It is simply the contrasting forces at play, defining the world of samsara. And yet, there is no beginning or end to samsara. Nirvana and samsara are interwoven like a great tapestry. Only the mind has a problem with life. It is only the mind that must heal itself of delusion and separateness. Discriminating thoughts are costly. The price we pay is inherent suffering. But the way to the end of suffering has been found! And it is right here in our ability to give focused attention, simple, mindful awareness to the process of life as it unfolds right here, right now. Slow your life down even more today, expand your awareness and you will discover your Boundless Self…and that is freedom.

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