Back before I found Buddhism I would daydream about being somewhere else, anywhere else but here in prison. I would imagine being on a beach or in a cabin in the woods. I would say to myself, “If I was there I would be happy.”
Now, looking back on those daydreams, I realize that no matter where I go, I would be there. Unhappy here—unhappy anywhere.
But I did stop and wonder what my daily routine would be in those daydreams. I imagined getting up in the morning and having a quiet cup of coffee, a long hot shower, morning meditation, a long walk, being part of a sangha, having precious teachers, a Dharma practice, a weekly book study with a friend, going to Buddhist services, hearing guest speakers, writing my sister and talking to her on my birthday!
STOP! I don’t need to be anywhere else to do these things. I can do these things right here, right now. Matter of fact, I was already doing these things. I just needed to be more present, thankful and mindful.
So I began being more mindful of these things that I enjoy doing. I say to myself, “No matter where I am right now, this is what I would like to be doing.”
This gave me a feeling of freedom and less desire to be anywhere else. The more mindful and more thankful I am, the more contentment I feel. Even though I’m experiencing the pain of ripening karma, I can still relieve my suffering.
Even when I brush my teeth or do other daily life activities, I try to remember to be mindful and thankful. It relieves so much grasping and aversion and I reduce my suffering in my life. I hope that knowing this can help others reduce their suffering and have more contentment too.