It’s time of the year to say goodbye to 2019. What good deeds have you done in 2019?
Below is taken from a talk by Ajahn Brahmali.
We just need to remember, you’re practicing the right way, you should be experiencing the results. It is good to weigh things up. Where are you at this year compared to last year. Every time you go on a meditation retreat, maybe you may be coming down to Jhanna Grove, or maybe you have a meditation retreat here, or have time to go into the meditation in a proper way and then compare it. How was it last year, compared to now. Is it better this year? And when you compare it like that, you start to understand whether you are growing in the Dhamma or not.
Is it actually moving you towards the happiness and away from the suffering that is promising. It is important to be realistic about this things, be very pragmatic. and then you can actually if you didn’t turns out that actually a mindfulness has not improve, my meditation isn’t going anywhere and I’m not feeling any more kind hearted than I did last year. Ask yourself why is that the case, where I’ve failed. Is there a failure in my practice somewhere. Usually you will find that, there is something that you can do to remedy that, that next time I come on retreat, next year, then actually you see the difference in what is going on.
By difference I always mean, increase in the good qualities and a decline in the bad qualities. If you’re less angry about the world or more at ease and relax with other people around you, desires are a bit reduced right, you feel more sense of clarity. You don’t feel so confused, so restless and all this kind of things. You feel you have a better heart, feel more compassion to the people around you.
But of course the first and foremost, you feel that your meditation actually is moving forward. You feel that your stillness is becoming more powerful. These things that you can see especially if you look at it over a long period of time and you should be able to see these things happening.
That’s why I’m still a monk right, I’ve been a monk for over 20 years and if it hadn’t been for the fact that I was making some progress, I probably would have given up by now. The fact that you are going somewhere, it feels very meaningful, it feels you are living your life to some purpose right. Most people don’t go anywhere, most people start out here when they die they are the same place pretty much, in terms of their minds stayed and mindfulness and all of these things.
Sometimes it down there when they die, they started up here, then they go down right. This is also really terrible when you died lower than you started out. Imagine, “Oh no I wasted my life, I did all the stupid things and I’ve gone backwards in my life”. Ideally you want to be up here right when we die than we started out. “Wow, I used my life in a good way.”
If all we do is messed around, if all we do is enjoy the sensual pleasures of the world, if all we do is chase status and chase promotion in work and all this kind of things, those things are not going to make a difference when you die because you have to give it all up. It is the spiritual part of your life that makes a difference when you’re finally died and that is where you find real meaning. The rest of the staff is meaningless when it come to death bed.
So better to don’t do the meaningless stuff. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself and I’ll don’t say that you shouldn’t have a career, please do so but make sure you have a career in the right way, with a good quality so actually something happens in your life and you don’t feel that you have wasted your time.
So short is life right, human being human life 80 years, 90 years sometimes only 70 to 60 years. It is short. Not that much time to spend it well otherwise, it feels like meaningless, pointless after awhile.