Do you sometimes feel like you are on a hamster wheel in your daily life? Do you find yourself having the same conversations with yourself or with others? Do you tell the same stories about why things are the way they are for you, good or bad?

You are not alone! We all do. This is a characteristic of how our minds work. You might say that the mind is kind, bringing us good feelings, protecting us by learning and remembering what has happened before. You might also say that the mind is unkind, reminding us of our failures and telling us negative stories about ourselves and others. Neither of these is wrong, but both represent pattern making that can act to limit our access to a deeper joy and happiness. Negative stories limit us by telling us “I can’t” or “I’m not”. Positive stories make us feel better about ourselves, but how deep do they reach? How much do they enhance the execution of our daily life?

In the Buddhist tradition, we call this cycle samsara, sometimes represented as the other side of nirvana. Samsara literally means “wandering” or “world”, which relates to the cycle of life and death. If you take time each day to reflect, you can eventually see the samsaric pattern in action. Sensory input, like hearing or touching, leads to a turning toward things that you like or prefer, or a turning away from that which you don’t like or prefer.  Memories and thoughts arise that reinforce our subconscious stories that generated the reaction. It might
seem nice if we could just keep the positive ones. However, it is all woven from the same cloth. As long as we keep going as we are, the wheel of happiness and unhappiness turns. Is there a different way?

The answer is yes. Can you remember being surprised by something pleasant and unexpected? Maybe a beautiful sunset, or an inspiring view coming around a curve in the road? These fresh moments are moments when we are not on the wheel. They are clues to what is possible. That things are not always what they seem.  Every moment has the potential to be fresh if we relax our opinions and judgements and simply be present with our experience – no opinions or judgements, just a relaxed awareness.

At Ratna Ling, one of our goals is to bring the wisdom of the Buddhist tradition to life, to learn to care and be cared for; to take care of ourselves. We offer time to disconnect and reflect, guided by teachers to help with experience and methods to know ourselves
in constructive ways. We relate to our minds and bodies, in helpful ways to enhance our lives and our relationships. Our offerings span a range of self-discovery and healing modalities. Take a look at our upcoming retreats. You might find just what you need!