What is not Wrong

One of the hindrances to meditation the Buddha enumerated is restlessness. Restlessness is a problem all meditators are familiar with. When you are trying to sit, suddenly thoughts arise of things we need to get up and do. Even if the restlessness doesn’t actually take us off our cushions, the mind itself is busy busy busy. “Don’t forget to return that phone call. It’s time to take out the trash. The dog needs to be fed. What did so and so mean by that remark? I have to remember to tell so and so such and such.” And on and on. What is the remedy for this?

The remedy is contentment.

For example, if you are focusing on the breath, and taking the attitude that the breath is very boring and repetitive, restlessness is sure to follow. But if you take the attitude that the breath is something wonderful, nourishing, and pleasant, then you can be content sitting and focusing on the breath. “How nice that I don’t have to do anything else right now but enjoy my breathing, letting everything else take care of itself.”

This is important not only while sitting but in daily life. If I look at the glass of water sitting on my desk, it is up to me whether I see it as something beautiful and interesting, or something boring. The glass of water is the same, but our attitude towards it is quite different. If we can see the beauty of the glass of water, then our mind will be less likely to wander and be restless.

To say it simply, train your consciousness in the direction of contentment by learning to note, in every situation and circumstance, what is not wrong—what is good and nourishing and beautiful—even a simple glass of water on the desk.

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