Tag Archives: right thought

Taking Time To Think About It

Those who add careful observation to what
they see and serious reflection to what they read
are on the road to wisdom instead of opinion.

Contemplation is a practice that reaches back before written history, but it is a life skill that is sorely neglected today in Western culture. In order to make sense of our lives we need time to consider and reflect, time away from phones, work, and the myriad interruptions that plague our daily lives. We need time to let ourselves absorb and make sense of all the information that has come our way.

Human beings are extremely good at acquiring data, but not all that accurate in our interpretations unless we take time to think about it. Quick decisions are an asset when we’re relatively unarmed soft-skinned creatures creeping through the jungle, but not so effective in our complicated, modern world with its vast flow of information that needs to be interpreted before it can be successfully applied. Continue reading

Rowboat

One of my favorite Buddhist teachings was given by the late Charlotte Joko Beck in her wonderful book “Everyday Zen”. It goes something like this.

Boat fog

Imagine that you live by a lake, and you have a rowboat. You’ve just repaired and repainted it, and you’re really pleased with the job. There’s a fog on the lake the morning after a stormy night, and you decide to row out and enjoy the quiet, surrounded by nothing but the mist and the water.

So you’re rowing along, and then scraaaape, you run into something, and you realize it is another boat. You know your paint job that you’re so proud of is messed up! You’re ready to give the other boater a piece of your mind when you realize that the other boat is empty. Looking closer, you see that there is a rope dragging from the bow, and you realize that the boat must have broken loose from its mooring during last night’s storm. Continue reading