During a recent session of meditation I came across this insightful quote by the 8th-century Indian Buddhist monk Shantideva:
Where could I possibly find enough leather to cover the surface of the thorny earth?
Yet leather on the soles of my shoes is as good as covering the entire earth.
Likewise it is not possible for me to restrain the external course of things.
But if could I restrain this mind of mine why would I need to restrain all else?
Too many times we get angry and distressed at what’s happening around us. To be sure, we are never going to be short of things to pick on in this crazy world that we live in.
Shantideva tells us that it is hopeless to try and control the many aggravations of our daily lives. Yet is it possible to change our way of experiencing life instead?
Of course it is! Life is a subjective experience. As I think about this quote, I remember my 93 year old grandmother, who maintains an incredibly positive and cheerful state whatever comes her way.
She’s lived through the Second World War and the early death of her husband amongst many other hardships, but I can’t recall a single time when I found her in an angry, stressed or depressed state.
Unfortunately I haven’t inherited her natural gift of defaulting to having a positive outlook on the world around us, but I know through experience that I can continuously retrain the mind to achieve the same state.
Daily meditation is an essential tool for this purpose. It builds awareness and helps increase our resilience to the challenges and obstacles that we encounter.
Meditation helps remind me of the impermanence of things; the natural ebb and flow of life. It’s a great way to culture feelings of forgiveness, love, and kindness toward the world and fellow humans.
If you have never meditated or have not made it a daily practice, I highly encourage you to do so. For help in getting started, you can check out my favorite meditation app: Calm.