Appreciate your advantageous circumstances.

It is important that we reflect on the advantages and good circumstances that we have to practice right now. Otherwise, we will take them for granted and they will go to waste. We tend to select one or two small problems in our life, emphasize them, and blow them out of proportion. Then we think, “I can’t be happy. I can’t practice the Dharma,” and this thought itself prevents us from enjoying our life and making it meaningful. We human beings are very funny: when something bad happens in our lives we say, “Why me? Why is this happening to me?” But when we wake up every morning and are alive and healthy and our family is well, we never say, “Why me? Why am I so fortunate?” Trust me when I say life has no agenda and life is not certainly not focused on you “the individual” and deciding what it should dole out or reserve for you specifically. Think on that. Meditate on that.

Not only should we open our eyes to all the things that are going right in our lives, but also we should recognize that they are results of our own previously-created actions (karma). It is helpful to think, “Whoever I was in a previous life, I did a lot of positive actions which make it possible for me to have so many good circumstances now. So in this life I should also act constructively by being ethical and kind so that in the future such blessings and understanding will continue for my energies and others. Appreciation is the highest form of thought, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever we shine the light of our thankful thoughts.

Peace and Love, Jim

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