We are what we think!

In Lifestyle on October 10, 2012 at 11:23 am

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, says we must be thankful for our teachers. Adversity, he also says, is our greatest teacher. As an example he cites his thankfulness for Mao Zedong, the Chinese communist leader who took away his native Tibet.

When we experience losses, setbacks, or suffer in an illogical world we ask, “Why me?”

Like most Jews, I have been are encouraged to ask, “Why not you?” If not ‘you’, then who should be afflicted? If there is adversity or loss to go around, why do we believe our blood is redder than someone else’s? Who is the ‘someone else’ who should suffer in our stead?

“Shakata ga nai.” (“That which cannot be overcome must be endured.”)

It is not the same as “Que sera, sera.” (“What will be, will be.”)

The latter encourages us to accept misfortune without our response. The former demands that, to endure, we must choose our responses carefully.

Much of our disharmony comes from trying to control the things that we cannot control.

What can we control?

Our thoughts.

Therefore, we must always select our thoughts carefully.

Selecting our thoughts selects our responses. Consequently, we have much more control over our lives than we imagine.

If we choose properly, our mind will be at peace. If we choose poorly, there will be further consequences that will further disquiet our mind. Our goal is to have mindful peace.

No matter how dire things are in our worldly milieu, we can have peace in our mind and it behooves us to select thoughts that will take us down the most peaceful path, or Way.

In the book, Rich Brother, Rich Sister that she co-authored with her brother, Robert Kiyosaki, Emi Kiyosaki (Venerable Tenzin Kacho) describes how she battled cancer and came to reconcile her Buddhism with eventual financial security.

She did not fight the cancer solely with meditation and Buddhist prayer, although meditation played a very important part in her fight. One cannot ‘meditate away’ cancer. Nor, can we pray our way to adequate life resources.

One can meditate to facilitate right choices. We can meditate to quiet the mind or to awaken it to see all of the choices we might have.

Prayer? What about prayers to whatever, or whoever, we worship as a Deity?

What if the answer to our prayers is ‘no’? For millions, each day, the answer given in response to a given prayer is ‘no’. When the response is ‘no’, what then?

For some, there is a belief ‘no’ comes because of a ‘plan’ we do not comprehend or cannot see. For others, ‘no’ is justice dealt out as payment for transgressions.

If there is a ‘plan’ then there is no free will. What about the justice within ‘no’ when the person has earnestly repented for their transgressions?

What if ‘no’ is just…


A cornerstone of Buddhist thought is that all attachments come with the price of future loss. To ‘correct’ this, Buddhism does not teach us to avoid attachment.

It only teaches us to be honest about the consequences of attachment.

In most cases the happy, wiggling puppy we bring home will die of old age long before we are ready. Still, we bring home wiggling puppies.

We fall in love and marry in full knowledge that, eventually, one of us will leave the other standing at a gravesite. Still, we marry.

Businesses fail or succeed despite the owner’s shrewdness or skills. Still, we pursue our occupations and businesses.

A death of a beloved pet, the loss of a spouse, or a departure of our fortunes typically comes by forces beyond our control and this loss of control disquiets us greatly.

How we respond to the loss, or the force causing it, is entirely within our control.

We must always strive to select the right thoughts by controlling our thoughts carefully.

Selecting the right thoughts will help us down the right Way.

The right Way will guide us into the company of others who are also correctly pursuing their own right Way. Our right Way will steer us from destructive people and forces and, if it is our bad fortune to find ourselves among such people or forces, the right Way will guide our responses to them so we can continue our journey as peacefully as is possible.

Our truly peaceful journey begins (and ends!) with our careful selection of thoughts.

They are the only thing in the Universe that we can control.


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