In Love With the World
What a Buddhist Monk can Teach you About Living from Nearly Dying
I have decided to start a series of blog posts on books I’ve read recently that have a focus on Mindfulness and Meditation, because I strongly believe that bringing more mindfulness in our lives will make the world a better place. And by world I am referring to our surroundings and the people who we interact with every day. It would bring more joy to us and everyone else.
Start small, start with our world, start within.
We all view the world though our own eyes and understanding at a given moment in time, therefore in order not to change the message of the books I will post about, I have highlighted some paragraphs that resonated with me and I will share them raw and unaltered.
If they resonate with you, I strongly recommend you read the book and let me know if there are other aspects of the book that I have missed.
Take it as Food for Thought and an invitation to continuous learning.
The first book is In Love With the World What a Buddhist Monk can Teach you About Living from Nearly Dying.
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is a Tibetan teacher and master of the Karma Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. He has authored two best-selling books and oversees the Tergar Meditation Community, an international network of Buddhist meditation centers, according to Wikipedia.com.
I have first come across this book as a recommendation from Jon Kabat Zinn in one of the sessions he has freely offered to the world during the first months of the pandemics through the platform Wisdom2.0. He recommended a series of books on mindfulness and I will try to review some of the in my further blog posts.
For those of you, who are not familiar with the work of Jon Kabat Zin, he is an American professor - alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology - widely known for as the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR).
The story line of In Love With the World, follows the physical and mental obstacles a Buddhist Monk goes through in his journey of leaving the safe space of the monastery he has been living in, to experiment the world with very little money and mostly living out of the mercy of others.
The book is highlighting that it is easy to keep a peaceful, joyous mind in a safe and controlled environment and the real challenge is staying mindful and joyful while facing the everyday life struggles.
Here are my main takeaways as unaltered quotes:
“To mistake our habitual misperceptions for the whole of reality is what we mean by ignorance, and these delusions define the world of confusion, or samsara.”
“Acknowledge the wave but stay with the ocean. This will pass…
“…there is no spiritual reality separate from daily life. In order to know anything of value about himself, and about living in the world, he have to travel deep inside himself “
“Our continuous agitation reveals a low-level dissatisfaction that never entirely ceases except for a few peak moments here and there. We are restless with this scent of something better close by, but out of reach. It’s like a subnormal fever. Not worrisome enough to see the doctor, but not quite right either. We remain convinced that the perfect partner, or job is just around the corner, or over the fence , we imagine that our compulsions will weaken; we will out grow our immature cravings, some new friendship or job will rescue us from crippling self-hatred, or loneliness, or from feeling that we are always making mistakes. Illogically, these fantasies of the change for the good persists – even for decades – while often few of them, or none, ever come to fruition. But the orientation of our fantasies and desires stays with the contentment, and away from dissatisfaction.
Although our aspirations might go unfulfilled, this orientation towards happiness and away from dissatisfaction points to an innate quality. Even behavior that is misguided or destructive, such as stealing money, or inappropriate sexual relations, or using addictive substances, is motivated by the wish for happiness. “
“Beliefs and values are concepts and therefore subject to change and whim. This orientation to be kind to ourselves – or to what we call basic goodness - is with us just as awareness is, recognize or not. We never live without it. “
“This is the great paradox of the Buddhist path: that we practice in order to know what already are, therefore attaining nothing, getting nothing, going nowhere. We seek to uncover what has always been there.”
“The Buddha taught that the mind is the source of suffering and the source of liberation.”
“ You will have a thousand chances to choose between a negative and a positive direction – meaning increasing or decreasing suffering for yourself and others; and, if you really aspire to cut your attachments, you can do it no matter what the circumstances – but there will always be something pulling you back in the other direction. It will never be easy, but it can be done. “
“We gain more insight into daytime and nighttime qualities of the mind; we gain more confidence in accepting the limits of consensus-reality. With investigation, we can see that the social fabric is pasted together by consensus. The more people who share the consensus, the more real it becomes, and the harder it is to change or dismantle it. “
“Do you mind if I ask your advice? (on meditation)
He explained that he had been thought anapanisati. In Sanskrit, sati means “mindfulness” and “anapani” refers to breath: “Mindfulness of breathing.”
“Do not make thought your enemy, I told him. The problem is not thoughts, it is following them. When you feel yourself moving towards an image, an idea, a past event, a plan for later tomorrow, that is what you have to watch for, not the thoughts themselves. When you get lost in thought, or hooked by the story, then bring the mind to the breath as a way of coming back to yourself.”
“Acceptance and passivity have nothing to do with each other, I explained. It’s important to make the distinction, especially where associations with nonviolence, peace, passive resistance, and passivity have gotten all mixed up. Even some Buddhists think we are supposed to lie down on the train tracks in the face of danger. True acceptance requires an open mind, one willing to investigate whatever arises. It can never be programmed. Quite the opposite, for it necessitates meeting the world with freedom, and maintaining a fresh mind that shows up for all situations. It requires trusting the uncertainty. Acceptance allows for genuine discernment to arise from wisdom, rather than having our decisions limited by rote, unquestioning patterns.”
“The elements of our physical bodies have five qualities: solidity, fluidity, warmth, movement and openness. In the Buddhist tradition, these qualities are referred to as the five elements: earth, water, fire, air (wind) and space. These same elements make up all phenomena. At the end of our lives, the dissolution of these elements can be observed…..”
“I wished to rush headlong into the unknown world, to embrace its mysteries and sorrow, to be in love with love, to be welcomed by love, to live with perfect ease…”
“I learned that unconditional love – for ourselves and all beings- arises once we allow for the natural flow of change, and then we can welcome the continual arising of new ideas, new thoughts, new invitations.”
Hopefully this offered you some food for thought and maybe it even opened your appetite for further exploration.