“Did you have a good time?” When our loved ones ask us this question, we usually have a quick answer to it—“I had a good time,” or “I had a bad time.” To elicit a story, we are asked a follow-up question, the second question. “Why?” And we would go on, sharing everything that had happened on that day, whatever it was that made the time ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for us. Here is a question we are not asked generally: “Do you want to have a good time tomorrow?” We would think, “That’s a stupid question. How on earth would I know what will happen tomorrow?” Please hold that thought, because there is something important to understand here.
Whatever happens to us can immediately make our experience good or bad. For example, drinking a nice cup of a hot beverage may be a good experience, but when that cup—with its hot contents—falls on our shirt, ruining our day completely, we would instantaneously perceive that as a bad experience. One incident after another, immediately followed by our corresponding experience, is what makes our day.
We want to have a good time. No one begins the day thinking “I will have a bad day today.” But sometimes, we do. Learning from the Buddhadharma, we can understand that we will fail in our goal to change the world to fit our feelings, trying to force things to make our time good or bad. Instead, we must see that WE are the primary agent actively dictating our experiences.
Depending on when and where we live on this planet, we have always been defining the incidents we go through as good or bad, in our own ways. The answer to the hardly asked question “Do you want to have a good time tomorrow?” lies in the way we answer the second question, “Why?” We can have a good time, not only tomorrow but for the rest of our lives, if we do not discount ourselves, but rather see ourselves as the principal agent categorizing and determining our experiences.
It is factual that our mind makes decisions, and we become the experiencer. Since we wish ourselves to be happy, and because our happiness genuinely concerns us, we must strive to realize that we can change ourselves, our mode of functioning, in order to be happier. Before immediately deeming a given event as good or bad, if we care to take a moment—just a moment—of awareness, we are demonstrating our concern for our happiness. Because when we take a moment of inner reflection, we are in a better position to dictate the nature of an event.
Even if the nature of an event is tragic, we are able to see through the tragedy and retain our strength. Using that strength, we are then able to give strength and comfort to our loved ones who need our support the most. Expanding further, we can then see that all sentient creatures strive for happiness. They all want to have a good time today, tomorrow, and forever. When someone seems to be angering us, by knowing that they may just simply be unaware of the inner workings of their own mind, we can reduce the feeling of animosity or anger and create room to develop compassion for all, impartially. Taking a moment to recognize how the mind works is where it all begins, so therefore, we should all remember to take a moment of sincere reflection when it is needed.
9 April 2018
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