Endless Musings

This blog contains the random thoughts, feelings, and observations of a slightly "left of normal" young woman.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Seeking Joy on a Cold, Grey Saturday

"Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and look at all beings with the eyes of love." - Thich Nhat Hanh, from his book, Present Moment Wonderful Moment.

When I was a teenager I always looked forward to the weekend no matter what. Just the idea of being able to be on my own schedule and have a break from school was enough to make me very content. It's not that I am no longer content to have a day or two off when I can sleep in a bit and take my own time in getting things done. However, as my life has become more complicated I have found that some weekends are actually somewhat more emotionally difficult than the weekdays.
Having more time to oneself means that there is more time to think about all the things are are not quite right in one's life. Also, during this time of the year (especially living in the Northern part of the country) many people suffer from some form of seasonal depression. It can be very discouraging to spend the time off from work feeling down in the dumps.
I feel that it is crucial that everybody finds a way to experience joy every single day. We humans have a great capacity for many things both good and bad. I believe that the greatest gift we have been given is our capacity for joy. To not utilize this gift is wrong.
Sometimes when I have more time to myself to think or even dwell on things I find that my joy is greatly diminished because my mind is plauged with all the problems and worries I am currently facing. When I have this extra time, I tend to worry dwell on the past and worry about the future. Sometimes, especially when there are a lot problems confronting me, dwelling on these things can cause me to slip into a depression that can last all weekend. This is not a good thing. There have been times when this has become so bad that I actually felt better emotionally when I was at work than I felt at home on the weekend. Talk about a 180 from the weekends of my youth!
Recently I have begun to learn how to enjoy these times regardless of the problems hanging over me. One of the most important things that I have realized is how to train my mind not to dwell on either the past or the future. I have come to believe that one should learn from the past, plan (the best they can) for the future, and LIVE in the present. Afterall, we cannot go back in time and change the past. We cannot gaze into a crystal ball and see the future. We do not even have a guarantee that we will have a future.
It can be hard at times to live joyously in the present when we are inflicted with certain problems in the present. However, if we truly understand that the capacity for joy is in us at all times and is not dependent on any extrnal forces we can always find it.
To quote Thich Nhat Hanh from his book The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: "If we think we have twenty-four hours to achieve a certain purpose, today will become a means to attain an end. The moment of chopping wood and carrying water is the moment of happiness. We do not need to wait for these chores to be done to be happy. To have happiness in this moment is the spirit of aimlessness. Otherwise we will run in circles for the rest of our life. We have everything we need to make the present moment the happiest in our life, even if we have a cold or a headache. We don't have to get over our cold to be happy. Having a cold is part of life."
Even when faced with much bigger issues than a common cold or headache I have found that if I rememeber to take time every day to be happy to be alive and relish in the good things that always exsist then I can find a way to be content.
Remember, happiness is a state of mind. Happiness is also a choice. I may not have control over everything that happens in my life, but I do have control over my own mind. I can chose to be happy.
Today may be cold and grey. There may be many big bad issue in my life that I have little to no control over. However, I make the choice to be happy. I decide that instead of spending my freetime dwelling on past mistakes and the uncertainty of the future I will make time to enjoy myself. I will make this time to enjoy myself without any guilt. Not to use the gift of my capacity for joy would be wrong.
I hope that everyone else out there has a weekend filled with joy and peace.

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