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Architect of one's life - #4

Recognition is important - when you see something wrong it also means that you were able to see it. The ability to see means there is recognition. This understanding will reduce tension. Whatever happens, it is good because mind is there and it is aware.

Meditation and daily life are not the same. The value of what happens during meditation session has no importance. The point is to see and let go. We can carry the same training in contemplation into our daily lives. Always being present in the moment, progressively we will form the habit of being able to accept any given situation.

How do we settle the mind? How do we establish "new tracks" and habits? We do it through training. Choose an appropriate period of time, a few minutes in the beginning, as long as it is pleasant without tension. You ought to feel relaxed and comfortable while doing nothing. When you start to feel restless and not so pleasant anymore, stop the session. But your meditation does not end there. In the same way, you carry on the meditation in daily life as mentioned before. Venture deeper into life's situations, become closer to other people, be more open, and develop your understanding. If you hold Bodhicitta in theory only with no application, it is useless.

We should clearly recall at any one moment that our ultimate goal is to reach Buddhahood. In the meantime, until the goal is reached, the veils which are blocking us have to be removed. How we live and experience our lives now is important to help us reach the goal. Look at all the events of any given day. You will find that some events are easy to remember while others very difficult. That means during the day you had presence of mind only sometimes. You were totally absent in some parts of the day. If we look carefully enough, we will realize that very often we are actually somewhere else. During these periods, emotions come on stage. The process of training leads to more presence of mind both in meditation and also in daily life. When we are present and focused, we can build a whole lifetime in one sitting, if not 100%, at least 10%. The greater the presence of mind, the more suffering will be removed. Gradually we can build up this presence of mind. The process takes time but our condition will start to change for the better and the improvement will continue.

You can practice meditation at any time, however, some moments are deemed better than other times. The early morning is a good time. We begin with a non-fabricated state when there is not a tendency to fall asleep again. Mind is relatively clearer and more aware than at other times. We should take refuge and develop Bodhicitta. We start the day in a state or attitude of benevolence. During the day we make real effort to benefit everyone whom we might meet. Then, slowly and gradually, day by day, things will improve. At the end of the day, we finish in a similar way. It is recommended that we focus the mind and dedicate our actions to all beings, wishing that all beings may reach enlightenment. We should recall again this state of mind before going to sleep. This could be reinforced during the day at any time, but more importantly, we should begin and end the day in this frame of mind.

There is however a common difficulty to overcome and that is: "I have no time." A few minutes in the morning and at night are all it takes. It depends on how our minds are attuned. It is really all relative. Look at the time wasted during the day. Every evening, reflect upon what we have done during the day. If the events and activities are easy to recall it shows that you have presence of mind - this could be construed as positive. Probably you would have some days which are not so good. This is normal. You should examine yourself and try to reach some balance. Try to gain understanding and to see clearly in this way. Hopefully, you will not repeat the mistakes because you are not stupid and will not persist in doing wrong. Generally, wrong deeds become "refuse" for the basement. If you forget about it, after a few years, it will smell! This is not good. It makes sense then to look at ourselves every evening and start again tomorrow with modifications. Otherwise, with every tomorrow we carry the garbage of yesterday.

We apply the same technique when we feel overwhelmed. Look at that state of mind. Meditation enables us to relate to our experiences and learn to accept what is not so good. Look at guilt, another experience from our repertoire of experiences. Take advantage of "guilt" by being aware of it so that you could do something positive to counteract it and develop a habit of doing so. This is possible due to the free time during meditation when you are doing nothing.

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