Maintaining inner peace through right speech and action

When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.

The Dalai Lama
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When I read this quote by the Dalai Lama, I thought about the times that I’ve lost my patience and said or done something that I immediately regretted. The embarrassment and guilt from those types of situations can sit with me for days while I rehash them in my mind and wonder about possible outcomes.

Obviously, there’s another problem there of living in the past instead of living in the present, which isn’t healthy on its own, but all actions have consequences. I think this is something the Buddha was aware of and is an important part of the idea of karma. The things we say and do that we might wish we could take back not only create guilt and bad feelings between us and other people, but, according to Buddhist teachings, they also add negative karma which can come back to visit us in this life or the next.

So, sure, live in the present, but it’s also important to help that along by not doing things that anchor us in the past. In other words, spending more time listening and thinking before speaking or doing so that we don’t get stuck in a cycle of worry and anxiety. I’m not saying that to preach to anyone. It’s more of a personal reflection and a reminder to myself to be vigilant as a means of improving my mental clarity, focus, and quality of sleep.

I’ve come to believe that simplicity is best, and the simplifying process doesn’t have to be restricted to discarding or giving away unused goods, it can also be a simplification of mental burdens by removing unnecessary worries and stresses by doing and saying the right things at all times. It’s like that old adage about not lying, so you don’t have to maintain the mental burden of remembering which lies you’ve told to which people.

As for what the right thing to do and say is, well, that’s more subjective and depends on context.

Being happy with enough

A lot of the problems we have in the world right now are because people want things that they don’t need, like a new phone every two years for example, and it creates a constant dissatisfaction with the present.

I wonder if this is why rich people kill themselves? They have so much, and not knowing what to do with it and not having time to use it must create additional layers of dissatisfaction.

The focus on living in the present moment that Marcus Aurelius wrote about reminds me of Buddhism. Aurelius even says that we shouldn’t worry about the past or the future because they do not exist.

The True Self

Photo by Jay Castor on Unsplash

…the True Self is the self that existed before the division of heaven and earth and before one’s father and mother were born. This self is the self within me, the birds and the beasts, the grasses and the trees and all phenomena. It is exactly what is called the Buddha-nature. This self has no shape or form, has no birth, and has no death. It is not a self that can be seen with the aid of your present physical eye. Only the man who has received enlightenment is able to see this. The man who does see this is said to have seen into his own nature and become a Buddha.

The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman by Takuan Soho

“If Man-Bat dressed up as a man to fight crime, would he be Man-Batman?”

“The Big Bang Theory” Season 9, episode 21. In the comic book store:

Sheldon: I have a question about Batman. Batman is a man who dresses up like a bat. Man-bat is a part man, part bat hybrid. Now, if Man-Bat dressed up as a man to fight crime, would he be Man-Batman?

Leonard: No, he’d be Bat-Man-Bat.

Raj: But wouldn’t Man-Batman just be a Batman that was bitten by a radioactive man?

Howard: But Batman is a man. You’re talking about a man who would have the powers of a man. That’s just Man-Man.

Sheldon: Well, isn’t Man-Man just Man?

Leonard: But what if Man-Man dressed as a bat?

Raj: Well, that’s just Batman.

Leonard: No, if a man dresses as a bat, that’s Batman, but if Man-Man dresses as a bat, that’s Batman-Man.

Howard: So does that answer your question?

Sheldon: Oh, I haven’t asked it yet.

If Batman is a man dressed like a bat, then wouldn’t a Man-bat dressed like a man actually be Manman-bat?