Monday, September 20, 2010

Noticing What Works

A lot of the practice of inquiry is simply asking the question "What works?"

What works to lessen our suffering? To make our lives open and joyful rather than constricted and fearful?

Unfortunately, our instincts in this area are pretty bad. We tend to think about doing more or having more, rather than doing or having less, or simply being with whatever is happening at the moment.

But a question we can bring to our experience is simply to say "When I do more of this, am I happier?" And conversely "When I do less of this, am I happier?"

Often, we can answer instinctively. "Of course I am happier when I have a better-paying job." "Of course I am happier with that red convertible." "Of course I am happier when I am busier."

Is that really true? Is that true today, right now? Will that continue to be true?

Or is it possible that we might be happier with less, or with doing less? Is it possible that we can do more by doing less?

Just to open to that possibility of noticing our actual experience, rather than our thoughts about what we should be experiencing, is a precious gift. And to continue with that, just noticing when we notice (and noticing when we don't!), can be transformative.


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