Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dona Nobis Pacem

in the united states, we are approaching thanksgiving day. like most families here, we are planning a time with extended family, a part of which will be a huge feast shared by several generations of family members. it will be a joyful time, as we celebrate with this large group, and it will be a stressful time of tolerating spoiled children and yelling parents. after it's all over, we'll look back and complain about the stresses and recall fondly the opportunity of being with all those that we see all too infrequently.

thanksgiving, at least for me, is a time of assessing the past year, and it's a time of reflecting on how my life has changed. i try not to write about me so much in this blog, except about how the teachings of christianity and bhuddism can be applied to my life. in this post, though, i want to write about the continuing transformation of my life as i study and contemplate those teachings, in keeping with the title of my blog.

to that end, here is the list of ways i believe my life has been transformed over the past few months:
i no longer have "bad" days. sure, there are frustrations that arise, and there are days when nothing seems to go right, but at the end of those days, i still can give thanks that everything was as it should have been.
i don't make "to do" lists. if something is not important enough to remember, it's probably not really that important to start with.
i don't have goals, other than to live each day trying to be mindful of what's and who's around me.
i wake up each morning at whatever time my body tells me to (usually around 6:00) excited about spending at least 30 minutes in meditation and prayer. this is, i guess, one of the greatest transformation in my life--to spend this time not as a duty but as an exciting opportunity.
i constantly remind myself that every task can be a joyful offering to god, and, in this way, even tasks that would otherwise have been onerous become pleasant.
i take things as they come, rather than becoming upset when my day doesn't work out as i had planned it.
i'm not as focused on things (possessions), but rather am more concerned about people and ideas.
i'm filled with joy and feel more at peace with myself and others.

i don't feel especially virtuous, and i'm filled with doubts about whether i'm doing as much as i ought to make the world a better place. despite my abandonment of establishing goals, making lists, developing action plans, forgetting about life missions and core values, i sense that my life is moving in the right directions. guilt and duty have been replaced by the realization that i'm not perfect and that it's ok not to be perfect. in short, life is good and getting better!

my prayer today is that my transformation continues and that each of us is in the process of being transformed into the joyful, peaceful, caring person that we are intended to be. shalom.

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