Yesterday I went to see “Walk With Me” a documentary about mindfulness and monastic life, specifically that of the Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.
One of the Monks was talking to a group of adolescents in a juvenile detention center, and he spoke about how we often leave ourselves wanting…thinking that if only we had a car or a house, a relationship or children (for example), then we would be happy. But so often when we get that which we desire, we only begin to long for the next thing, and the next.
His point, of course, was the we must learn to find happiness not based upon what we have, but rather on simply being.
He talked about how at Plum Village, where he lives among other monks, he has few possessions – no car nor house of his own, no income to speak of (I believe he said he earns $40 per month). The monks are also celibate.
It got me thinking about the main causes of pain, stress, and struggles in life…
Money (our ability to pay for the things we need…and the things that we “need”), our careers, and perhaps, above all…our children and our romantic relationships (or lack thereof).
Imagine a life in which all of the sources of our challenges are removed. No career, no need for money, no children, no romantic relationships allowed.
How would that feel? To wake up every day have nothing about which to worry?
Can you imagine the complete lack of stress?
It was a fleeting thought which I shared with my friends on the way out of the theatre. I quickly discarded the idea of such stress-free living, knowing full well that I wouldn’t trade my “stressors” for anything (the eight year old stressor and the eleven year old stressor, in particular).
Those or that which bring us the greatest hardships (worry, loss, heartache) also bring us the greatest joy (love, laughter, devotion, selflessness).
Then my friend, Nicole, said something to the effect of, “The whole point of living is to navigate and learn from the challenges with which we are presented. If you remove the challenges, you remove the opportunity to evolve.”
So, it turns out I won’t be becoming a monk anytime soon. (Brown isn’t really my color.)
The truth is…
I would choose this chaotic life of mine, over and over and over again.
Although…I do agree that incorporating more meditation and mindfulness would certainly help me to navigate the chaos.