We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgement;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness;
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet
our new neighbor.
We built more computers to hold more information
to produce more copies than ever,
but have less communication;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods
but slow digestion;
Tall man but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It’s a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.
even though all beings would like to live in peace,
our method for obtaining peace over the generations
seems not to be very effective:
we seek peace and happiness by going to war.
Maybe we come home from work and we’re tired
and we just want some peace;
but at home all hell is breaking loose for one reason or another,
and so we start yelling at people.
War begins when we harden our hearts,
and we harden them easily whenever we feel uncomfortable.
It’s so sad, really,
because our motivation in hardening our hearts
is to find some kind of ease,
some kind of freedom from the distress that we’re feeling.
We can do everything in our power,
but war is never going to end
as long as our hearts are hardened against each other.
When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure,
we don’t know what’s really going to happen.
When we think something is going to give us misery, we don’t know.
Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all.
We try to do what we think is going to help. But we don’t know.
We never know if we’re going to fall flat or sit up tall.
When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story.
It may be just the beginning of a great adventure.
Life is like that.
We don’t know anything.
We call something bad; we call it good.
But really we just don’t know.
When you open yourself to the continually changing,
impermanent, dying nature of your own being and of reality,
you increase your capacity to love and care about other people
and your capacity to not be afraid.
You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open.
And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression.
You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds,
from now until the day you die.
And you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities
to start doing things differently.
excerpt from “The Pocket Pema Chodron”