We’re so lucky

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I write the Filet of Soul column for this newspaper. I’ve been doing it so long that the churches sometimes become a little muddled in my poor memory. These days, it’s not as often that something I hear gets under my skin, but the lecture I heard by the Ven. Sumati Marut about a restrictive method of how to be happy did. These were the daily steps he described:

1) Every night get a good night’s sleep. 2) Every morning, before getting up, loll about in bed for a while thinking about how things are going right in your life, and how this life won’t last forever, and so it is important to be clear about your priorities. 3) Meditate for at least 20 minutes. 4) Do some kind of physical exercise or movement. 5) Keep track of your moral life, all day long. 6) Do something for someone else every day. 7) At the end of the day, relax with the “couch potato contemplation.” 8) Every evening spend some time studying a spiritual text.

I’m trying to take his advice, but it’s not easy. I’m basically on the first and second steps, although I’ve been doing 4 for some time, and I can vouch for its efficacy. I’m not great at lolling, but if I can feel gratitude for the good things in my life for 10 minutes in the morning, I’m feeling pretty good. The second part of 2 is harder; the idea is to meditate on the idea that I, personally, am going to die, and I have no idea of when it’s going to happen. I could be hit crossing the street or die in my sleep at 80.

I’ve found the “death meditation” is more freeing than depressing. It makes me appreciate the good things in my environment and want to work to increase the number of things I feel gratitude for. Sure makes it hard to put off changing the bad things.

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