Print Friendly, PDF & Email

An optimistic mind

An optimistic mind

Placeholder Image

A reflection on today’s reading: “When we do get what we want, we’re ecstatic; when we don’t, we’re disappointed and depressed. Like emotional yo-yos, we go up and down according to whatever person or object we meet. We need only look at the number of moods we’ve have today to confirm this.”

Crowd of people witing to board a bus.

We go up and down according to whatever person or object we meet. (Photo by Jessie Wang)

Emotional yo-yos

The bus is late, I’m annoyed. The bus driver must be deliberately driving slowly. The bus is crowded, everyone looks offensive to me. I found a seat, my luck is turning. So nice to rest my tired body. Oh no, an old person is making his way towards me, I have to give up my seat or others will think badly of me. This day is really terrible. How dare the bus driver stop the bus so far from the bus stop, he must be deliberately doing that to make me walk extra steps, I must take down the bus license plate and make a complaint of this unprofessional behavior.

Reframing the situation

The bus is late. This gives me extra time to do some breathing meditation. How nice to have this time. The bus is crowded, everyone’s eager to get back to their loved ones. I shall try and move to the back of the vehicle to create more space for others to get on the bus. I found a seat, it’s a nice break from standing. An old person is making his way towards me, how wonderful, an opportunity to benefit a fellow sentient being. Oh, the bus has stopped a few steps away from the bus stop; this is a good opportunity to walk off the tiredness of standing.

Changing the way I view the bus ride changes my experience of it. I could choose to get home, angry and full of restless energy, then spend hours trying to calm the mind. Or I could feel happy about the journey and bring a stable mind home to my family.

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

More on this topic