Waiting

by Dennis Bradford

in spiritual well-being

Waiting is a good indicator of the quality of your life. The more you do it, the less happy you are. Permit me to explain.

How frequently do you do it? The more frequently you do it, the poorer your quality of life.

Think of all the different kinds of events you may wait for:

for the light to turn green
for retirement
for the baby to arrive
for the clerk to handle your transaction
for graduation from school
for the end of the work day
for the results of your investment
for the message from your beloved
for the physician to give you the test results
and so on and on and on.

Waiting is suffering. It is a way of being discontent, unhappy, unbalanced, or out of sorts.

Why?

All unhappiness is caused by separation. Notice that in any of those kinds of situations you are separated from the present moment by concerning yourself with some imagined future moment.

The more you are separated from whatever is in the present moment, the more unhappy you are.

What is the cure? It’s simple: reduce separation. The less separation from the present moment you experience, the less unhappy you are.  Decrease separation to decrease unhappiness.

How is it possible to decrease separation? In general, it is by letting go of all thoughts unrelated to the present moment.

So, how is it possible to decrease waiting? It is by letting go of thoughts about the future.

How do you do that?

Practice doing it. Traditional breathing (spiritual) practices such as zazen meditation are practices that enable practitioners to reduce unhappiness by reducing separation.

Notice the egocentricity or self-centeredness inherent in all those kinds of situations. If I am eagerly hoping for the check to arrive, it is because I hope that cashing that check later will be good for me. Without egocentricity there would be no hope.

It’s helpful to think of the ego as whatever is not the present moment. The present moment is the mortal enemy of the ego. Insofar as thoughts are about the future, the past, or somewhere else in the present, they are egocentric. As soon as focus is on the present moment, the ego disappears.

Suffering requires egocentricity. Whenever I hope for something to happen, I am imagining that it will be good for me. It is the “for me” that indicates egocentricity.

To kill egocentricity is to eliminate all unhappiness.

This is why, if you want to eliminate all unhappiness, you should master a practice such as zazen meditation.

All unhappiness is caused by egocentricity, and egocentricity is eliminable.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mark Keicher February 14, 2011 at 8:07 pm

It seems to me that egocentricity, separation, being mentally all over the place, may at times be valuable. For example, the creative arts sometimes requires mental instability to foster the artisitic impulse and to stimulate the imagination. An ideal situation, to me, would be to shift gears at will……be able to still the mind and live fully in the present…..and then turn all thoughts upside down, inside out, and use the confusion and mental turmoil as a springboard for….some sort of creative expression, whatever that might be.

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