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I love problems

Let me tell you a secret
I LOVE problems!
I know, it sounds crazy,
But really, I must.

Because I spend all my time
Thinking of…
Dreaming of…
Ruminating on…
Creating… myriads of problems!

It’s my favorite game
To look around and pick out
Just what’s wrong.

Naming, blaming, criticizing,
Making up my little list
Of all the things that
I will get to fix.

It’s curious, though, to see
That friends and family don’t really appreciate me
When I point out faults and give suggestions.
Their faces get all red like they’ve got indigestion.

I’m also not as happy as I’d expect,
Having taken on the role to inspect
The environment and those around me
And I’m not really as friendly as I’d like to be.

But it’s a hard habit to break
Always looking for what’s wrong.
In a snap of the fingers
It’s the framework through which I see
Whatever comes along.

So I’m trying to relax
To take a step back
To allow things to arise
And not immediately jump to attack!

But rather to turn the mind
And see all the kindness
Which is not too difficult—
It’s in every object around us.

Coz I didn’t grow or even cook
Any of the food I’ve eaten today.
And I didn’t make this table, chair, or TV display.

But I get to use and benefit from them all.
Due to the efforts of others
I have clothing, medicine, and lights on the wall.

So it doesn’t make much sense
To just sit and complain.
To wail, “It’s not fair!”
And drive everyone insane.

Rather, let me see this ‘problem’
As an opportunity.
To take great joy for another chance
To serve the community.

Because it’s the mind that’s the source of happiness and pain.
It’s not what’s happening outside.

So I get to choose:
Do I want to keep creating problems?
Or do I want to choose happiness?

Venerable Thubten Lamsel

Ven. Thubten Lamsel began studying the Dharma in 2011 at The Dhargyey Buddhist Centre in Dunedin, New Zealand. When she began exploring the possibility of ordination in 2014, a friend referred her to the Preparing for Ordination booklet by Venerable Thubten Chodron. Soon after, Ven. Lamsel made contact with the Abbey, tuning in weekly for the livestreamed teachings and offering service from afar. In 2016 she visited for the month-long Winter Retreat. Feeling like she had found the supportive monastic environment she had been looking for, under the close guidance of her spiritual mentor, she requested to come back for training. Returning in January 2017, Ven. Lamsel took anagarika precepts on March 31st. In the most fantastic circumstances, she was able to take her sramaneri and shikshamana vows during the Living Vinaya in the West course on February 4, 2018. See photos. Ven. Lamsel previously worked as a university-based public health researcher and health promoter at a small non-governmental organization. At the Abbey she is part of the video recording/editing team, helps with inmate outreach, and enjoys making creations in the kitchen.