With the advent of email, cellphones, text messaging, the Internet, etc. there are numerous ways for our focus to be interrupted. But when our attention is diffused, we don’t approach our interactions with people or our work with the same level of energy and intent that we do when we are focused. When we approach people in a scattered way, we don’t hear, understand and ultimately relate to them as well. When we approach work without our full attention, our work is not as clear and crisp, it takes longer to do and is not as satisfying to do as when we are focused. Even watching a movie while multi-tasking diminishes the experience. A movie takes you on an emotional journey, but when you switch your attention to texts, emails and phone conversations, your attention is leached out and the movie isn’t as funny, poignant or thrilling. In other words, when you don’t bring your attention to what you do, you miss all the good stuff. When you bring your full attention to work, play and relationships, they’re more intense, enjoyable and satisfying.
© 2013-2019 Sara Weston. Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on Amazon.com or Amazon UK, CA, FR , IT, ES and DE. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.
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Highly recommend the Three Jewels of Awakening to anyone who is a spiritual student or teacher! It’s the best, most concise book I’ve seen on how to engage correctly with the spiritual path, so that you keep your journey sacred and precious. And though it’s a small part of the book, what may be most valuable is the discussion on the traps both students and teachers can fall into. If you really hear these words, they can save you a lot of time and pain on the path!
As someone who has taught for many years, I personally chuckled in recognition at this advice to teachers: Many people will put you on a pedestal when you teach, and later, they will attempt to tear you down….Be unmoved by people’s opinion of you. You will be praised and you will be blamed, loved and hated, clung to and shoved away. Don’t fall for it! These are normal reactions of a student’s ego, especially when it’s under duress as the spiritual aspirant seeks to subdue its authority in favor of freedom. Be still either way. Let them do what they will while you remain centered.
When I was a young student, I read over and over again the teaching stories in The Snow Lion’s Turquoise Mane, and in particular fell in love with the stories about Patrul Rinpoche. The bright and funny way he called bullshit on sectarianism and hypocrisy reminded me so much of my own teacher. I recently found the 2017 book Enlightened Vagabond: The Life and Teachings of Patrul Rinpoche and really loved reading even more about this great enlightened teacher.
Some of my other favorite collections of teaching stories are Wisdom’s Blossoms: Tales of the Saints of India and Zen Antics.
Every year or so I reread my favs. There are many great books about the life of the historical Buddha, but A Life of the Buddha (previously entitled The Awakened One) is my favorite. It’s very clean and bright.
I’ve read Autobiography of a Yogi an absurd number of times. If you haven’t read it, run, don’t walk to get a copy!
I have a great heart connection to Sri Ramakrishna, and read about him year round. I’ll open The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna most weekends and read a few pages. If you ever feel bad, you can read a few pages of this book and be lifted above the world. The energy in it is very powerful.
Keep on hand at all times great audio books, podcasts, music, books or magazines. It’s helpful to have something entertaining to do when you are waiting in line at the DMV or at the doctor’s office or when you’re caught in traffic or on the subway. There are so many draining situations that become the opposite when you have something interesting to occupy your mind.
© 2013-2020 Sara Weston. Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on Amazon.com or Amazon UK, CA, FR , IT, ES and DE. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.
Download the How to Be Happy NOW app