Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Month of Gratitude

As I was in the shower this morning, sniveling mind appeared and started whingeing about water pressure and sharing a bathroom. The absurdity of this hit me when I remembered that there are many people who have no access to clean water, let alone a hot shower. Sniveling mind disappeared right there and then, sad and disappointed.

It's so easy to listen and join in with the complaining mind, but it only makes us miserable. We focus on what's wrong with our worlds and compare the way things are with the way we want them to be. While there's nothing wrong with making positive changes in one's life, I find the complaining mind usually doesn't accomplish much other than to cause suffering.

In the last week, I've been sitting with the Bāhiya Sutta. Here's a link to Ajahn Thanissaro's translation for those who aren't famiar with it:
Bāhiya Sutta

For me it seems to say that when there's no more mental proliferation about what we experience, then we don't suffer. The mental proliferation may be grasping, going on about why we "need" something or how much we want it, or about how horrible something is and how much we don't want it.

To combat the aversive mind that goes on about the negative, I've decided to start a month of gratitude. For the next 30 days, I plan to write down at least one thing I am grateful for, and also to be mindful of when the sniveling mind appears, and show it the door. Especially with Thanksgiving coming up, I am hopeful that it will bring a more positive mind state. I've done it in the past, and it's always been helpful.

I'm open to ideas for the greedy side of mental proliferation, and figure December will be a good time to work on that one.

Anyone care to join me?