The earliest teachings of the Buddha encourage us to turn our minds toward thoughts of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. These teachings also invite us to generate thoughts focused on the Buddha’s admirable qualities. And, they urge us to rest our attention, from time to time, in thoughts focused on our own acts of generosity, kindness, and good will. The teachings insist that if we do so, we will discover lasting benefits in health and social harmony. We’ll create lasting positive traits that support own happiness and the happiness of others.
If you actively pursue the truth, confirmation bias is lurking. According to journalist and self-styled psychology nerd David McRaney, each one of us wants “to be right about how [we] see the world, so [we] seek out information which confirms [our] beliefs and [we] avoid contradictory evidence and opinions.” This is confirmation bias in a nutshell.
Something to Worry About
When I was a kid, I was free to come and go from home, pretty much at will, especially during the summer months. Yet, it was also true that I never went out without first giving mom a plan. You know, something to worry about.
Continue reading Devoted to Goodness
On one occasion, one of the Buddha’s cousins asked the Buddha how his disciples occupied their minds during the ordinary course of the day. Good question, right?The Buddha’s answer was simple and direct. “Cousin,” he said (I’m paraphrasing), “When my disciples aren’t meditating, they reflect on their good fortune and their own acts of generosity, kindness, and moral goodness.” In other words, the Buddha’s disciples occupied their minds with reflections on positive qualities and mental states. They were nourishing happiness and joy.
The day after the last big snow, as I drove out of Gloucester on my way to yoga, traffic was light and unhurried. Scenes refreshingly beautiful replaced the grimy, tattered, roadside landscapes of mid March on Route 128. My mindful-driving practice was humming along with my car’s heater. I was right there, right then, joyful and warm.
Making a Big Impression
As I turned into the road that turned into the yoga studio parking lot, I realized a car was about to exit. However, this car was exiting from its own lane, but mostly from mine. I slowed to squeak by. My eyes locked with the driver’s. Then, I smiled a broad grin. And next, his gentle, middle aged, mustachioed face twisted into an angry grimace. He tossed me an f-bomb… flipped me the bird. Don’t think that didn’t make an impression.