Over the weekend I went to the Bodhisattva Kadampa Buddhist Meditation Centre in Brighton and on one of the breaks myself and two other women went to the sea front. We were very lucky with the weather because for once it wasn’t a typical British day!
It was the photo taken at the sea front that inspired this post today (apologies for the photo quality – it was taken on my phone and apparently the quality didn’t transfer well onto WordPress!)
The whole weekend turned out to be amazing. Considering it was our first retreat we picked a really good time to go.
Our weekend was all about empowerment and how to find love, compassion, kindness and wisdom in adverse situations.
It was fantastic to hear a Buddhist teacher speak in person instead of through my usual medium of YouTube! The teacher of this particular course was Kelsang Chodor.
It was very useful to hear him teaching about how to transform adverse situations into a favourable situation. If there were two things I learned from him it was to use the word ‘favourable’ in an unfavourable situation, and to take myself out of the equation and watch as the real problem disappears.
The example Kelsang Chodor used was about food (right up my alley!) Imagine you’ve made an excellent dinner. You’ve worked really hard on it and spent more money than you usually would on ingredients. You’ve plated your food up and then…the plate falls onto the floor.
My first thought would be “Oh for God’s sake!!!” followed by a number of expletives.
Buddhism teaches that we should find something favourable about this situation and take ourselves out of the equation. Maybe you have a dog. Now this situation becomes favourable! You’ve just served your dog a delicious meal that not many other animals get to eat. You’ve given your dog a once in a lifetime culinary delight!
Through this kind of practice we can find it within ourselves to be more loving, compassionate, kind and wise.
It’s not going to be easy – trust me, there are some situations where I’ve had to recite “let it go” as a constant mantra. But I think knowing this information and practising it will be much more helpful to me AND the other person involved.
If we’re acting from a place of love and kindness then we receive love and kindness back and we turn a negative into a positive.
We must remember that nothing is inherently good or bad; it’s how our minds perceive the situation that determines how we view it. For example your friend may be friends with someone you don’t like, and you may be friends with someone that your friend doesn’t like. Is that other friend good or bad? They’re not either, it’s just how your mind perceives them that influences your decision.
If we flow with life and be present then we can maintain a mind of peace and calm. This will make it easier to transform those annoyances and petty irritations into lessons of love, compassion, kindness and wisdom.
We CAN do it!
But we must try to remember Kelsang Chodor’s word of the weekend: FAVOURABLE.
Ask yourself: “What is favourable in this situation?” Then remove yourself from the equation and feel the positivity flow.
My message to you all is to be like water. Find the most favourable path in that moment of adversity. Nourish your soul with love, compassion, kindness and wisdom.
Keep flowing and moving. Stagnant water grows murky and dark, but free flowing water always remains fresh and clear no matter how slowly it trickles.
Maintain the flexibility and softness of water and it will allow the universe to give you amazing things!
Let the sun shine on you and let yourself receive all the excellent things you deserve!
P.S: This photo was taken by me back in 2011 of my good friend Jesika somewhere in California. I can’t remember where (I’ll have to ask her!), but again, the weather was beautiful!
Be happy. Be you.