"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -- Marcus Aurelius
What do you do in your downtimes? What are your pleasures? One of my great pleasures is reading or listening to self-help books. The first life changing self-help book I've ever read was the Bhaghavad Gita. The first time I ever heard of the Gita was in 2002. I bought a music cd from an Indian grocery. The music was the Sanskrit passages from the Gita. I was mesmerized by the beautiful chanting. I searched online and printed a free translated text to read. Before reading the Gita, I have never considered that the body and thoughts weren't mine. I didn't know that I could observe the thoughts and feelings without owning them and that the body is like a worn piece of clothing. It was such a revelation and a complete shift of perspective. I promptly started practicing yoga soon after reading the text. I was hooked. My bookshelves are filled with many translated ancient texts and contemporary books I deem to be eye-opening and perspective shifting.
"Through the practice of yoga and understanding the path of darkness and light, you reach the greatest state of all. Coming home to the love that lives in your heart." -- The Bhagavad Gita
Currently, I'm listening to the book, Evolve Your Brain by Dr. Joe Dispenza. While I have no desire for them at this time many people I know like to read novels on their downtimes. As a young person I read plenty of sci-fi fictions. In my early college years in the US I read a lot of English literature books which led me to watch a lot of Masterpiece Theater series. The shifting from learning the East and the West, and the old, current and futuristic knowledges in itself shapes my thinking and expands my view. We each have our ways of satisfying the need to alter our experiences for the better. The desire to improve derives from the sense of dissatisfaction. The lack of satisfaction, according to Buddhism, is the very essence of life because of its transient nature. Dissatisfaction is a natural state which means desiring to be satisfied is our essence. Why should we think of a precious privilege to be alive if we weren't so ready to think of the opposite or to take life for granted?
"When I look inside and see that I am empty, that is wisdom. When I look outside and see that I am everything, that is love." -- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Our brains are wired to look for the wrong rather than the right because they are meant to adapt to and improve the physical condition as opposed to remaining in the rut. What we expose our senses to literally change and shape our neuroplastic brains. Yoga and meditation do not change our essential nature. But through the practice the body and mind become more congruence. In a normal working brain it's impossible for the mind to reconcile with the feeling if the body is at risk. The brain naturally wants to make the body safe and secure. After all they are one unit. However, if the body is already comfortable and the mind doesn't accept the feeling then, the mind is just regurgitating old fearful thoughts and manifesting past conditional habits. A true revelation is seen in the mind and felt in the gut. The thoughts and feelings are one. The mind that doesn't reconcile with the body is an unhappy mind. Take heart, an unhappy mind is the mind desiring to change. Dissatisfactions lead to revelations. Emptiness is fullness.