Dhamma Letter No. 85
Q&A 26 : How to deal life pattern
Q: I am a Buddhist student and would appreciate it if you would kindly arrange to offer some guidance?
I will always work hard and get to a good place (i.e. top school, top university etc.), then after getting inside that institution, I forget all the hard work that I have done to get in, then start comparing myself with others i.e. fellow students. Then I think they are better than me and I am not that smart as they are. That is the start of my downfall. No matter how much hard work I have done to reach that stage, after getting in, I will compare myself with the fellow people and think they are good, they know what to do, they are super clever, I am not like them, how can I compete with them, they will pass the exams, I will fail the exams, then I will start to procrastinate.
This is like a train wreck that I cannot stop inside my mind. Just because of this thought process I have missed so many golden opportunities in my life. This is my pattern of downfall behavior. I am clever enough to understand what is going on inside my mind but cannot help myself to put a stop into this negative thought process. Mind gets filled with negative pessimistic thoughts.
Is it past karma? Is it due to low self esteem? After I lost the golden opportunity, I thought like I should have done that, I would have done that, I could have done that. But then, it is too late.
A: Most people live by that pattern. Such a pattern is called Kamma, and the repetition of life without breaking free from the working aspect of life is called samsara. Those who deviate from that pattern will overcome themselves and produce results.
As you know, the reason you fall back into the pattern without overcoming it even though you're recognizing it is because such a mindset (karma) is stronger than your will to overcome. So, we need to develop a stronger will to overcome it. How could that be?
You have to let go of the desire to be too good and the competitive mind. You have to focus on yourself and have fun with yourself. A person who works hard cannot beat a person who enjoys it. Do what you love to do, and let it be enjoyed. If you have too strong a will, you become more tense, and your mind becomes complicated and you lose your peace of mind. When that happens is that it makes more difficulty to get things done. It doesn't even give you the results you want.
You have to focus on yourself. One way to do that is to meditate. Meditation can keep your mind and body peaceful and healthy. You must train your mind through meditation. Wisdom must arise.
Try to be in the present, not thinking too much about the past and future. It is a Buddhist practice. Finally, it accumulates all wholesome and becomes a base.
May you be free from any physical suffering !
May you be free from any mental suffering !
May you be well and happy!
Ayyā Kosallā & Mahāpajāpatī Bhikkhunī Sangha
Edited by Euna Bonovich
If you have any questions related to dhamma & meditation, please feel free to ask. You can reach Ayya Kosalla directly at Bhikkhuni.Kosalla@gmail.com .
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Buddha Sāsanaṁ Ciraṁ Tiṭṭhatu!
May the Buddha’s teachings last a long time!
Bhavatu Sabba Sotiṁ ca Maṅgalaṁ ca!!
May everyone be led on the path of peace and blessing!!
Sādhu Sādhu Sādhu !