Stephen Jay Gould: “Humans are here today because our particular line never fractured–never once at any of the billion points that could have erased us from history.”
You, personally, are even less probable. If any one of your ancestors had not procreated at just that moment and had offspring that survived to procreate again, going back to the beginning of life on the planet, you would not be here.
Bill Bryson: “Go back just eight generations to about the time that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born, and already there are over 250 people on whose timely couplings your existence depends. Continue further, to the time of Shakespeare and the Mayflower Pilgrims, and you have no fewer than 16,384 ancestors earnestly exchanging genetic material in a way that would, eventually and miraculously, result in you.”
This is parent to parent to parent and assumes no interfamilial mingling, which there most probably was. But you get the point. The fact that we are here at all, that this planet is the right temperature, atmosphere, position in space… that our species has survived a few hundred thousand years to be where we are today… that your ancestors all met at the exact right times, means we are unbelievably lucky and blessed to be drawing wind.
Sakyong Mipham: “A traditional Buddhist teaching on the difficulty of obtaining human birth uses the image of a blind tortoise swimming in an ocean that’s as big as the earth, with an ox’s yoke tossing on the surface. Once every five hundred years the turtle swims up to the surface. Tha chances of obtaining a human birth are said to be as small as the chances of that turtle emerging with its head in the yoke.”
So, we are blessed just to be here. You are blessed to be able to sit in front of your computer and read this. You are not fighting for your survival, but living comfortably enough to sit and read a blog. Now, what are you doing with your life?
Like everyone, we are doing the best we can. Know that. Everyone is doing the best they can with the cards that have been dealt them. We’re all swimming in this sea of Samsara and we’re all doing exactly what we’re meant to be doing.
Mostly we’re running around trying to feel good. Breaking out of that cycle of just trying to feel good is the path to enlightenment, the path of virtue that takes us to true happiness and joy. The path of love, loving ourselves, loving God as you define God, and loving others, so they in turn can love themselves and love God. This, according to my old priest, is the basis of Christianity. Oh if only that’s how all the Christians on the planet practiced! It’s also the Buddhist path to enlightenment.
If you’re interested in feeling better, feeling happier, starting on that path, one way is to know yourself through meditation. Schedule it into your daily routine. Make it happen. For more guidance on meditation read ‘Turning the Mind Into an Ally’ by Sakyong Mipham. His voice and vision are clear and wise. Danny and/or I will also write more on meditation on this page.
Seek a good teacher. If you’re in Calgary and are interested in peace of mind and a more comfortable body, look Danny up.
I’m just back from a wonderful trip half-way around the world to my home, family and friends. Thus the long silence. More posts brewing. Plus I’m sure Danny will be posting from time to time.
Take it easy on yourselves. Take it easy on your loved ones. Assume the postive about everyone and everyone’s motives and you’ll usually be right. Someone cut me off the other day and I was sure they had done it on purpose just to slow me up. As did everyone in the car. Then, when I finally passed, it was just a little old lady, with a scared expression on her face, trying to make her way. Assuming the negative can build negative upon negative fantasy that can cloud your attitude, judgement and subsequently your actions.
Read a lot of books, learn from a lot of teachers, and practice, practice, practice.