Monday, May 16, 2011

The Unexamined Life

"The unexamined life is not worth living"~ Socrates

I got the idea for my blog today from another friend who posted the above quote. He then went on to ask what everyone thought the quote meant, and whether we agreed with it, and if so, how we implemented it in our lives. 
This is my response: 

" This is one of my favorite quotes. I believe it to mean that we are to never stop learning. Each day is another opportunity to learn something new about ourselves and the world. We should never be content to stay as we are, and we should never cease questioning or challenging our own perceptions. There is so much to the world beyond our own often closed minds; it is when we look deep within and out that we really see and become."

I am currently reading "Joyful Wisdom" by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.  It is a fantastic explanation on how to integrate the tenets of Buddhism into our every day lives in order to become happier and emotionally healthy people.   We are often in such a hurry, and so overwhelmed by anxiety in our multitasking lives, that we fail to make the time to have an examined life.  Yet it precisely what we should be doing in order to grow and reach our fullest potential.  

Being mindful is challenging.  According to Rinpoche, when contemplating the bigger issues, we must ask ourselves such difficult questions as 'Am I contented, right now, in my own skin? Do I live with regrets, with anger, or with resentment toward myself or others?"   Often when we sit to meditate, our mind rushes on and avoids the answers that come to the surface.  Going within can be scary stuff, and it's why so many choose to remain safely in their cocoons, never hatching into their enlightened selves.  

Our human mind is a wonderfully adaptive gift. Just like our body,  it is always evolving according to what we feed it. If we feed it that which is unhealthy, our  thoughts will likewise be unhealthy.  But if we give it food for thought, food that challenges  us to examine our own perceptions; this food allows it to open and grow.  We have the ability to take the reins and change our opinions and thought processes by being mindful, by taking the time to examine life.  And by examining life I mean not only our own experiences, but that of others in the world.  We need to look beyond our own windows and front yard, and consider other people's lives.  Often by doing so we find our perceptions begin to change, and our own direction adjusts accordingly.  

Go far beyond. Go beyond your front door,out  into the world. Challenge your perceptions, and open your heart and mind. Take the wheel and drive. 

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