Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Seeing the Forest from the Trees

School is over! At least for another couple of months and for those of us that are students of the "fine" establishment of Arizona State University. Took my last final today and just need to finish up a report that shouldn't be too difficult in the morning, but that is neither here or there.

I know that I promised a late night at the Waffle House, and that WILL come soon enough, just have been a little busy with finishing up with school. (Really it's been hard to break lazy habits of just wasting time on the black hole of the internet: FB) But, with Waffle House, I'm thinking this Saturday should be a good day. If anyone is in the Mesa, Arizona area hit me up and we'll have a mass Waffle House gathering at midnight.

Now, to what I really wanted to talk about, being able to see the forest from the trees and vice versa. I know that I'm not exactly the best exemplar of buddhist philosophy and that I'm not exactly perfect but I'm working on it, more sheepishly at some times than others. Although I may not always be walking on the perfect path, this philosophy has really given me strength to become the person I am today, and has lots to still teach me. Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons that I have learned comes from the first of the Eight Fold Path, Right View. Maybe the reason that I have learned the most about this is that it's the top of the list and it's what I focus on when I start practicing meditation again after a period of time of laziness. 

There are a lot of different ideas of what right view exactly is. Often times, people think that right view is to adhere to the mainstream beliefs and ideas or that it's to take a particular stance on a particular subject. Personally, I never really understood what right view really was until I picked up a book by Mike Butler, Understanding Buddhism. In his book he expounds on what right view by describing both of what it is and what it isn't. He states, "Wrong view occurs when we impose our expectations onto things; expectations about how we hope things will be, or about how we are afraid things might be. Right view occurs when we see things simply, as they are. It is an open and accommodating attitude. We abandon hope and fear and take joy in a simple straight-forward approach to life."

The main aspect that I'd like to focus on tonight is the part about having an open and accommodating attitude. Far too often people let themselves become close minded and shut themselves off from seeing things in reality and only see what mainstream media wants to see. This was the case with a discussion with my fiancĂ© whom I couldn't be more excited to start the rest of our lives together with. 

With the wedding day getting closer and closer, almost one month from today, the stress is starting to grow exponentially and more so with her than me. It's not just stress about the actual event but things regarding to her views of herself, not having the body of a super model, the brain of a genius, the elegance of a princess type of stuff. It really broke my heart that she was holding on to this idea of what she thinks she is supposed to be, something illusionary, that she wasn't able to see the beauty and potential she has. I know that my perspective is slightly biased being the one to marry her, but I wouldn't be wanting to get married to her if I felt the same way about her as she feels about herself which is just an illusion.

For the most part, life itself is illusionary. We hold on to these false notions of reality which ultimately cause us suffering. Things like focusing on the items that we should accumulate to prove our own self worth, the social status that we should have to validate our lives, and the wealth that we should be able to show off. The reality is, is that in 100 years, unless you make a pretty big contribution to bettering human life in one way or another, no one will remember you and all that you worked towards is going to "return" to dust as they say. What is important on the other hand is to free yourself from illusionary thinking and seeing and coming to realize that the most important things in life are the relationships we have with others and mostly ourselves. It's important to always realize that "you, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection" and love is what really brings people together.