I am starting a new thread here mainly for purposes of my own catharsis. It is my intention, at least at this point, to make regular contributions. Of course, if anyone else has anything to add, they are more than welcome. If you have any input, please contribute.
Over a year ago I decided to deal head-on with my self-diagnosed adult attention disorder, (ADD). The inability to stay focused was becoming too stressful. I found myself sitting around watching the clock tick, yet I couldn’t keep “on task” with any project I started. Nothing was getting done and just starting something was becoming depressing.
The smart thing to do was probably to get professional help, so instead I decided to try to heal myself, at least as a first try. Cognitive therapy and pharmaceuticals (UGH) might be the approved way to go but I decided to try meditation first.
18 months and countless self-help books later, I still can’t bring myself to a regular, formal meditation program. But, along the way, I discovered informal mindfulness. Yes, I know it is the “Fad” right now. It is hard to navigate modern social trends without “tripping over” somebody extolling the benefits of mindfulness.
Let me add my voice to the chorus.
"Decide that wherever you are, is the best place to be. Once you start comparing, there is no end to it." Sodo Yokoyama
"A single thought has the potential to lead you down a very dark alley. You can limit that by getting better at noticing thoughts arising." ~ Everyday Mindfulness
"Resolve difficulties while they are easy, and manage great things while they are small." ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 63
"Let me not beg for the stifling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it." ~ Shantideva
"Often we cling to habits that aren't even comforting or satisfying, simplify because we are unable to let go or explore new was to do things." ~ Lama Surya Das
"Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together. But do so with all your heart." ~ Marcus Aurelius
Notice how well the words of one of history's most respected stoic philosophers conforms so wonderfully with a conventional Buddhist-like program. As if he was a wise man on a mountain top rather than one of the more effective emperors of Rome.
"Stress is nothing but the difference between expectation & reality."
An interesting, but not really surprising definition of stress. The question is "What do we do about it?" That may depend on whether we see stress as a healthy goad to address this differential or a destructive condition eroding our mental health. The Buddha was famous for suggesting "The Middle Path."
It also suggests that we have a choice between adjusting our expectations or railing against the conditions of our reality. And I'm not sure there always is a middle path. Now I'm reminded of the Serenity Prayer, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr.
"Lord, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference."
Lastly, I want to point out the risk of contradiction that occurs when trying to mix insights from different religious traditions. The Serenity Prayer invokes an external power whereas the Buddha looked for strength from within. Your choice, no pressure.
"My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return." ~ Maya Angelou