by Maureen Lynch

I’ve noticed some positive things this week that helped me to change negative thinking.

One thing happened as I was driving home from work. I was going through a very pretty neighborhood with beautiful homes. I immediately felt jealous and sorry for myself because I can only barely afford a small apartment in a questionable neighborhood. I’m 62, so a beautiful home like that is not in my future. I decided I had to use this for Dharma practice.

I thought about the many, many sentient beings who would give anything to have what I have. I also thought about being attached to some object like a house, and how I am attributing more to it than it actually possesses. My confusion was leading me to put more value on an impermanent building that is ready to change, break down, develop mold, fall apart, and be washed away in a hurricane. I also thought about how, right now, I have such a wonderful opportunity to work on my mind.

I can’t say the new way of thinking completely washed away all attachment to that house, but it helped me to see, intellectually, through my confusion. I hope, with a lot more practice, clearer seeing will become part of me.

Another instance occurred in a long checkout line at the end of the day when I was so exhausted. I waited and waited. Then the card reader broke at that register, and I had to start all over again in another line. Then the belt that moves your purchases along broke, and I had to get at the end of yet another line!

I was so frustrated! I knew I had to use this somehow, so I lowered my eyes and repeated mantras. I could not believe how immediately the tension in all my muscle groups, one after another, just melted. I had no idea that my muscles were so tight!

I felt more relaxed and was able to empathize with the other people waiting. I even offered someone behind me with just a couple things in her cart to go ahead of me.

That experience offered another lesson: the only control I have over anything is with how I use my mind.