When I have a toothache, I discover that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing. That is peace. I had to have a toothache in order to be enlightened, to know that not having one is wonderful.
—Thich Nhat Hanh
“Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you don’t love.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
This year, though, I’m going to throw out resolutions. Totally throw them out completely. Because I usually set a resolution on New Years Day and feel really excited about it for about a month and then I totally lose interest and then feel like a failure. Instead, I’m going to think in terms of Practice.
I’ll continue this being healthy thing that I’ve been doing (which I’ve sort of fallen off the wagon on the past couple of weeks). But I want to approach it as a practice. I came across this interpretation of the Five Precepts by Thich Nhat Hanh that I really like. He approaches them as Mindfulness Trainings. The Fifth Mindfulness Training is:
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.
I love this! So I am going to approach my healthy lifestyle with this mindfulness practice in mind. Granted, it might not be easy all the time, but I’ll do my best.
With this in mind, I had kind of a crazy idea yesterday on my way to work. I thought to myself, “What if, for an entire year, I didn’t buy anything for myself?” Really. What would that be like? Obviously I would have to buy food and things like that. But I’m thinking about purchases like books and, basically, stuff. Stuff that takes up space that I don’t really, really need.
Obviously, today is the first day of the year and I’m not sure I’m going to jump right into this today. But I’m going to think about it a little bit. It’s an interesting idea, I think.
As far as other goals, I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing these past few months. Learning the ukulele, continuing with my zazen, etc. Just basically going with the flow.
I’m excited to see what 2011 has in store.
Happy New Year!