What to do when you are scared about an uncertain future? When does the mountain of problems seem unbearable? What to do when you don't know what to do? What if the joy of life seems to be gone forever?
Look for tips in this peaceful excerpt from “Open the door of your heart”
The physicist, Buddhist monk Ajahn Brahm says: We need to immerse ourselves, there we will find strength even in the most difficult moments. In the book Open Your Heart Door, he tells stories that can help you look at your life with new eyes, get rid of distressing thoughts, and even survive life and death. For your attention, here are some stories that will help you through these days of uncertainty and fear. It often seems as though we have been hit by disasters around the world; Often the problems are real and our strength small. It often includes sadness and dissatisfaction with oneself. But Ajahn Brahm says: We only lack the peace of mind, the clear gaze, and the ability to open our hearts to happiness. It often seems as though we have been hit by disasters around the world; Often the problems are real and our strength small. It often includes sadness and dissatisfaction with oneself. But Ajahn Brahm says: We only lack the peace of mind, the clear gaze and the ability to open our hearts to happiness.
What if the mountain of problems seems unbearable?
What to do when you don't know what to do?
What to do when the heart is poisoned by jealousy or self-loathing?
What if the joy of life seems to be gone forever?
Just sit back and dive into this book. One hour, one day, or fifteen minutes – for one story. Wisdom lies in simplicity; great wisdom – in a smile, in doing nothing, or in a cup of tea.
What is fear?
Fear is the search for evil in the future. If we were to realize how unpredictable our future was, we would never try to predict what could go wrong. Then the fear would disappear.
Once when I was little, I was panicked about going to the dentist. I had booked a visit but didn't really want to go. No need to worry. When I came to the doctor, I found out that my visit had been rescheduled. Then I realized that fear is a waste of precious time.
Fear lies in the uncertainty of the future. And if we do not follow wisdom, fear will destroy us. She barely killed a new Buddhist monk, Grigel, in an old television series called Kung Fu. Fanatically, I watched it in my final year of teaching before becoming a monk.
One day, a blind Gypsy teacher led a newcomer to a secret temple room that was usually locked. In that room was a pool about six meters wide with a narrow wooden board, like a bridge connecting one edge to the other. The teacher warned Pogel to stay away from the pool because the pool was filled with strong acid rather than plain water.
“Seven days from now,” he said to Groundball, “you will be checked.” You will have to balance the acid pool with this narrow wooden board while balancing. Just be careful! Do you see any bones lying on the bottom of the pool?
The peg looked carefully over the edge and saw many bones.
– They're just like newcomers to you.
The teacher led the Pogel out of the terrifying room into the sun-drenched temple courtyard. There the elder monks had prepared a board of exactly the same width as the one thrown over the acid pool, but this one was raised on a few bricks.
All seven days, Groundhog did nothing but learn to walk the board. It was very easy. A few days later, he crossed the board in the yard, keeping his balance perfectly even with his eyes closed.
The day of ordeal has come.
The teacher escorted Pogel to a room with an acid pool. The bones of a newcomer who had once fallen into the pool looked at the bottom dangerously. The peg climbed to the back of the board and turned to his teacher.
“Go,” the teacher told him.
The board across the acid pool looked much narrower than the board of the same size in the backyard. The peg started to go, but his steps were very unreliable. He shivered before he reached the middle. It began to fluctuate even more. It looked like he was about to sink into acid! At that moment, the movie was interrupted by a commercial break.
I had to endure that stupid advertisement, all the while worrying if the Pinball would save his bones. The advertisement ended and viewers were taken back to the acid pool room, where Peggy was already losing his confidence. I saw him stepping, weighing and … falling into the pool.
An old blind teacher screamed when he heard a whistle whistle into the pool.
No acid was there, just plain water. Old bones were cast to create a “special effect”. They misled Grogel, including me.
– Why did you fall? Asked the teacher seriously. – Fear overwhelmed you, Groundhog, only fear.
Thinking about washing
People think too much these days. If only they were a little more reserved, life would be much easier.
One night a week, the monks in our monastery in Thailand gave up their sleep and meditated in the large convent hall until morning. That is our tradition as forest monks. But we didn't get too tired because we could get down the next morning.
One morning after a long night of meditation, when we were about to return to our huts to make up for a sleepless night, the elder of the monastery invited a young man from Australia. The young monk became very upset when the head of the monastery gave him a huge pile of laundry and immediately ordered him to do the washing.
According to our tradition, one of the duties of a monk is to care for the elder of the monastery, to wash his clothes and to serve him otherwise. The pile of laundry was huge. In addition, washing was only required in the traditional way of the forest monks. First of all it was necessary to bring water from the spring, make a big fire and boil the water. Then, with a large knife, a machete, chop the breadcrumbs into chips and put them in boiling water to release the sap of the tree, which acts as a detergent. Each garment was individually placed in a long wooden deck, filled with brown boiling water and rubbed by hand until clean. After all this, the monk had to dry his clothes in the sun and turn occasionally to prevent the natural paint from fading. Even washing one piece of clothing was long and hard work. And it takes quite a few hours to wash so many clothes.
The young monk was tired after a sleepless night. And I feel sorry for him. So I went to the laundry room to help him. When I entered, he cursed and smiled more in the Brisbane tradition than in the Buddhist tradition. He complained that it was unfair and cruel.
– Couldn't that old man wait until tomorrow? Does he not realize that I have not slept all night? I didn't become a monk because of that!
In fact, he did not speak exactly that, but that is the only way I can quote publicly.
When that happened, I was a monk for several years. I had a good idea of what he was feeling and knew the way out. I told him:
– Thinking about work is much harder than working.
He fell silent and stared at me. After a few moments of silence, he returned to work quietly, and I went to sleep.
A little later that day he came to thank me for his help with the laundry. He made sure that thinking about washing was the hardest part of the job. When he stopped complaining and just started doing the laundry, work went easy.
The hardest thing in life is thinking about what we will do.
Laugh when it hurts
In my first year in Thailand, we were transported from monastery to monastery at the back of a small truck. The senior monks, of course, got the best seats in the front booth. We, the young monks, sat on the hard wooden benches in the truck body. Above the benches was a low metal frame on which a taut tarpaulin protected us from the rain and dust.
At that time there were no paved roads, we were doing gravel roads, and they were still poorly maintained. As the wheel hit the road pit, the truck flourished down, and the young monks up. Bumpt! Many times I hit my head against that hard metal frame. And since I was a naked shaved monk, I had no “padding” on my head to soften the blow.
Every time I shook my head, I mocked – English, of course – that Thai monks couldn't understand. But when the Thai monks shook their heads, they just burst out laughing! I couldn't understand – how can you laugh when you shake your head in such a strong and painful way? Perhaps, I wonder, those Thai monks are so often shaken in their heads that they have undergone some kind of irreversible change.
Since I was a scientist before, I decided to do an experiment. I decided to try to laugh like those Thai monks the next time I shake my head just to find out what it would feel like.
And what did I discover?
I realized that when you shake your head, you laugh a lot less!
Laughter releases endorphins into the bloodstream, which act as natural painkillers. In addition, it strengthens our immune system, which helps us to fight off the infections we have.
So laughter helps when you feel pain. If you still don't believe me, try ever shaking your head.
Experience has taught me that when life becomes painful, pain relieves when you look at the fun side of life and are able to laugh.