How you measure your life


From a blog post by Phillip Moffitt:

… our culture teaches you to constantly judge yourself based on superficial measures: How much money you make, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, the level of recognition and reward you attain at school and at work, how beautiful you are. But this perspective flattens life. It denies the possibility of finding a deeper meaning to your experience. If you measure your self-worth and effectiveness according to these superficial cultural standards, then each time you suffer, you are forced to interpret suffering as humiliation.

Recently, a dharma teacher asked a roomful of Zen students why we began sitting. One man said, “Because life really sucked,” and we all laughed.

Someone else said: “That’s why I started sitting. And after I did, life got better.” We all nodded.



4 responses

  1. But what if life doesn’t get better after we start sitting?

    What if it gets better for a while and then starts to suck?

    What if life was pretty darn good when you started sitting and then started to suck?

    What if we totally turn away from self-concern, with our experience of our own life? Then, why do we sit?

    Gotta go breathe… πŸ˜‰


  2. Gosh, you’re a tough one. I guess some days will suck, regardless. But for me, sitting every day has changed a lot. It did not seem that way for a long time. And then I started to notice things — the tiniest little things — that were different from how they used to be. How I got angry. How long my anger lasts. How I criticize others, and what for. How something simple is remarkably perfect. How a shadow on the wall can be so beautiful. How lying in bed and looking at the shadow for a few minutes can change the whole morning.

    Can we turn away from our life in the world?

    If we did that, would the grass still grow by itself?

  3. Much of the “challenge” of life comes from how we view it, I suspect. We call it hard or easy, good or bad, sweet or sucky – and make it so.

    But with practice it’s just: Angry! Criticism! Shadow! Typing! Grass! Self-Concern!

  4. I’ve been sitting every day, twice a day, for some years now. Life HAS gotten better, alot better. It is richer, I am happier, and events don’t get me as riled up as they used to. I started sitting out of chaos, confusion, anxiety. That is the rich fertile ground out of which are BEING is birthed, I think.

    Yes, Breathe, Observe……..