The Practical Buddhist Blog – Practical Advice on Integrating the Practice of Buddhism in Contemporary Life


First, let’s accept some things.   Life is the way it is.   We experience what we experience.   For the most part, we have no control over these things.   What we do have control over, at least potentially, is how we react or respond to these events, and thus whether we suffer or are content and happy.

I say “potentially” because we have been trained, raised, to be insecure and to respond to negative life events with fear and anxiety.  These emotions and perceptions are a product of our mind.   We have been programmed to respond to life in this way.   This is true of virtually everyone.   It is true of our parents and their parents, and it is true of us.   We are part of a cycle of insecure people raising insecure children who become insecure adults who raise insecure children.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.   While our mind got us into this mess, we can also  use the rational thought aspect of the mind to get us out of it.   The key is to use the mind, rather have the mind use and control us.

And how does one accomplish that?   I have written many posts on this subject, including a summary, “How to Free Yourself from the Control of Your Ego-Mind.”

But to put it most simply, one has to first be aware and accept that you suffer (feel anxiety, fear, frustration, etc.) because of the way you have been trained to respond to life, not because of the events themselves or aspects of your being.  It is in fact possible to respond with dispassion, with equanimity, to these same facts.

Next you have to say to these emotions and perceptions, “Not me!” while reconnecting with your true self which is your heart.  And so while you free yourself from these negative feelings, you replace them with feelings of light, love, faith, trust, compassion, humility, gratefulness, joy, contentment, strength, courage, and wisdom – all the properties of your heart.   It is critical that you replace your negative thoughts with positive ones; otherwise, the negative ones will just flood back in.

And you must repeat these affirmations or mantras, whatever you want to call them, on a daily basis as part of your meditation practice.   Your are attempting to reprogram your mind, to change the paradigms of your life, and that takes both time and constant watering of these seeds.  Especially since you will get no support in this effort from society and your mind will not give up its habit-energies easily.

There are many things you can do to support this effort, and they are mentioned in the post.   The main thing is to not lose faith; do not give in to or be discouraged by the constant badgering of your mind with its “what if’s” and emotional reactions.   You cannot get to the space you want without slogging through a gauntlet that can at times seem never-ending.   


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