Meditation is based on the premise that the natural state of the mind is calm and clear. Thus, meditation provides a way to train our mind to settle into this calm and clear state. In the East meditation is primarily for greater spiritual awareness and connection. In the West people approach meditation first for stress reduction. Interestingly, however, they discover and appreciate the spiritual link as well. Whatever your reason for meditation, it will make your life calmer, richer, happier, more peaceful. Through meditation we discover the basic goodness of our natural mind.
"Snowflake Generation" a concept first used by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club to describe today's millenials (those born between 1980 and 1996). There Palahniuk writes of this group: “You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”
That view is supported by Buddhist teaching that "we are the"same decaying organic matter as everything else"
I am intrigued by millenials - my own children fall into that cateogry - and I have several very close friends who are millenials. If they have come to feel "special, beautiful, unique" it can be stated this may not be their fault. Socially and culturally, there was a shift which began to view children as important and valued rather than be treated dismissively. There's nothing wrong with that. Yet, inspite of a positive start that trend has some downsides. In an article titled Snowflake generation: Why Millennials are too soft and who's to blame" Nicole Wills makes these fascinating observations:
The author concludes saying there is a problem among millennials and that who is to blame is unclear: parents, the previous generation or two, society but rather than assign blame, steps should be taken to correct the issue.
I found her article inspiring and motivation as a meditation instructor and teacher of Buddhism and will keep in mind her insights as I promote the practice of meditation along with the many pieces of wisdom from the Buddha who emphasized the beauty and strength of one's buddha nature (found in all beings), of the importance of cultivating virtue (ethical living); of moving against the stream, of maintaining spiritual friends and more.
(read the entire article at https://www.biznews.com/good-hope-project/2021/05/27/snowflake-generation-millennials )
Whoever prevents another from giving a gift creates three obstructions, three impediments. Which three? He creates an obstruction to the merit of the giver, an obstruction to the recipient’s gains, and prior to that he undermines and harms his own merit. Whoever prevents another from giving a gift creates these three obstructions, these three impediments.
—Buddha Shakyamuni, Vaccha Sutta
Don't become arrogant because of wealth, even if people cater to you or flatter you, and show you great honor. - Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
Your character and future are built entirely by your thoughts and deeds. As you think, so do you become. Noble thinking develops a noble character. - Swami Sivananda
imagine, friends, a man in the course of a journey who arrives at a great expanse of water, whose near bank is dangerous and whose far bank offers safety. But there is no ferryboat or bridge to take him across the water. So he thinks: ‘What if I collected grass, twigs, branches and leaves and bound them together as a raft? Supported by the raft and by paddling with my hands and feet, I should then be able to reach the far bank.’
“He does this and succeeds in getting across.
“On arriving at the far bank, it might occur to him: ‘This raft has been very helpful indeed. What if I were to hoist it on my head or shoulders, then proceed on my journey?’ Now, what do you think? By carrying it with him, would that man be doing what should be done with a raft?’
“’No, sir,’ replied his audience.
“’So what should he do with the raft? Having arrived at the far bank, he might think: ‘Yes, this raft has been very useful, but now I should just haul it onto dry land or leave it floating in the water, and then continue on my journey.’ In this way the man would be doing what should be done with that raft.
“The dharma too is like a raft. It serves the purpose of crossing over, not the purpose of grasping.
“When you understand that the dharma is like a raft, and that you should let go even of positive things, then how much more so should you let go of negative things.
“When your friendship with some other person terminates through some slight rupture, quarrel or misunderstanding, you should never advertise and circulate the evil qualities or wrong actions of your friend, whom you loved for a long time. If you engage in this practice, it will bring harm to yourself as well as to your friend. Drop the matter at once. Forget all about the unhappy incident. Always speak well of everybody. Speak well even of the man who has done serious injury to you. This will help that man. This is nobility.”- Swami Sivananda
Since at the beginning and end of our lives we are completely dependent upon the kindness of others, how can it be that in the middle we would neglect kindness to others. - Dalai Lama 14th
"The Buddha encouraged us to think of the good things done for us by our parents, by our teachers, friends, whomever; and to do this intentionally, to cultivate it, rather than just letting it happen accidentally," notes Buddhist monk Ajahn Sumedho.
Not only did the Buddha promote gratitude but it was something he personally practiced consistently. According to tradition, after the Buddha was enlightened he spent the next seven days just looking at the tree which gave him shelter and under which his awakening emerged. Take a moment to understand what he did. Rather than rush off, start teaching and sharing his life changing insights with others, the Buddha took an entire week to sit in gratitude before a tree which meant so much to him.
From the Buddha we get a glimpse of how important it is to pause and feel gratitude. Pause to examine your own mind by asking these questions of yourself:
• Do I feel gratitude for simply being alive?
• Do I feel gratitude that I have discovered meditation?
• Do I feel gratitude that I have people I can meditate with?
• Do I feel gratitude for spiritual friends who journey through life with me?
• Do I feel gratitude that I have enough money for my needs?
• Do I feel gratitude that I have spiritual teachers to instruct and inspire me?
Periodically engaging in this 'gratitude feeling' exercise will ensure that we don't take for granted the many positives which are constantly present in our lives. Gratitude is a vital component of an enlightened life.
Death is unimportant to a yogi; he does not mind when he is going to die. What happens after death is immaterial to him. He is only concerned with life - how he can use his life for the betterment of humanity. Thus the yogi develops the quality of his life so that a good seed may emerge, and his next life may bring the harvest of spiritual fragrance. - B.K.S. Iyengar
Victor M. Parachin ...is a
Vedic educator, yoga instructor, Buddhist meditation teacher and author of a dozen books. Buy his books at amazon or your local bookstore.