What shall I DO?
What is going on out there?
according to the media it is mostly all mayhem. Watching world news on T.V. can be very disturbing. It would be irresponsible to take no interest, The question is what can we do as individuals to fix these problems?
Reinhold Niebuhr came up with, “The Serenity Prayer.” To quote it “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and to have the wisdom to know the difference.” This is good advice, but without his faith in God, what shall I do!
We have little control over the outside. Therefore we should direct our time and energy, not dwelling on the things of the material world. We should concentrate on what emotional effect all this-worldly turmoil is having on our mind.
Is our mind racing around juggling thoughts, frantically pursuing answers, to no avail? What shall I do? Become apathetic and chase after pleasurable distractions and finding no lasting satisfaction from that, chase what is pleasant only to find that it is only a temporary distraction. Hurrying to what we want or scurry away from the unpleasant, on the go never calm. We become unhappy, even disturbed, and emotionally unstable. In this state of mind we can not do anything or help anyone, we will then need help. What shall I do!
Stop it is as simple as that, meditate, calm down, concentrate get those disturbing thoughts under your control. Like a radio when static interferes we have to tune in and stop the mind static by meditation. An unsettled mind cannot think clearly. Practicing meditation you become mindful of your thoughts and your emotional state.
Be aware of those negative mind states and how they feel and what they are. When you are delayed or have to wait, recognize impatience arising, when you are mindful the impatience will not escalate into anger that can turn to what is known as road rage. There are many bad feelings, fear, envy, jealousy, hate, greed and anger. Anger is ruinous a person consumed by the fire of anger enjoys nothing. Under strong negative emotions the joy in your life disappears. The antidote for the negative is to fill your heart with positive kind loving and caring feelings for others. There are always people with more, do not envy them, think of the less fortunate and be grateful.
When something breaks or is lost in some way, getting upset will not bring it back, you may feel the loss but does it do any good to let it spoil your day. We can be injured or sick and in pain but is there any need to suffer, crying and making other lives miserable. When in pain you are unhappy and when the pain stops you are happy. Therefore anytime you are not in pain, should be a reason to be happy. What shall I do?
Look on the inside; think what is happening inside your mind. What effect is the outside environment having on your mind and take control of your thoughts. Thoughts lead to actions and actions become habits. You can cultivate good or bad habits and as you sow so shall you reap, that sentiment is quoted in all major ideologies.
What you can do, is to make your goal in life, to change the world by your example. To do that, you need to be aware of your thoughts and their effect on your feelings and behavior. This is not easy it takes practice, another quote, “To know and not to do, is still not to know.” I have found that meditation has helped me to be a better person and being a better person has brought its own rewards. There is no action without reaction; this is the law of Karma.
What shall I do? Start with a smile and the world will return your smiles. That was my first lesson on Karma. Taking a deep breath and trying to follow only my breathing was the beginning of meditation practice. The Buddha gave us a wonderful guide in, “The Eight Fold Path, it is a lifelong endeavor of self-improvement. In this world of many distractions you will often take wrong turns, but as in meditation just refocus, put it behind you and continue.
Your smile will be infectious. Your courtesy when driving will alleviate stress in others. Your kindness will be appreciated; your honesty will breed trust. If you want to conserve be conservative not extravagant. Your appreciation will be appreciated and your respect will bring you respect. In heavy traffic you will have the opportunity to practice your patience and if you do you will not promote that dreaded “road rage”. There will be many opportunities in life to change the world, around you for the better, by your actions.
Do not expect others to do this for you. Wish in one hand and cry into the other and see which gets full first. You can protest, you can pray or Keep asking, what shall I do?