It Doesn't Matter What Other People Do.

It Doesn't Matter What Other People Do.
It doesn't matter what other people do... Period! 

Recently we had another set of shootings in Virginia Beach. One man killed, at the time of this writing, 13 people and injured 3 others. This is an extreme example of real human behavior. Yet to my own spiritual life and well being it doesn't matter what that man did. It matters what I do.

I could not sleep so I started this post after meditating because I was mulling over shootings, family illnesses, parental health (my parents), spousal health, children's health, grandchildren's health, work, co-workers, bosses, jobs, money, bills, housing, cats, my feet, my work boots, my truck. This endless list continues. I then shifted the focus from them and that to me.

I've been a terrible employee, father, son, spouse, grandson, brother, friend, co-worker and citizen many times because of the things I have done. My careless and selfish behavior has led to much suffering on the part of others. I've also been a good guy too. Maniacal normal human.

What's done is done. I can play the recording of events over and over again. The events of others and the events of my own hands. I can not do anything about what others have done but I can do something about my reactions, responsibilities and relationships.

Furthermore I can do something good for myself that will enable me to improve my life and those other lives around me. By doing this thing that is a practice I am changing the whole universe! You can join me if you like. Because it doesn't matter what you do or others do this activity that I do is infinitely powerful. Again, you can join me if you like.

I wish I could tell you how wise and wonderful I am. I can't do that. I can only share my refuge. This is where I go when I am experiencing happiness and sadness. I go to this refuge because it's good. It feels good. It's powerful. It's self revealing. It's free. It's practical. It's here right now.

The Five Precepts:

Before I show you this refuge I must share the foundation of the Five Precepts.

1. Respect Life by behaving safely in action with regards to others for the sake of a sincere practice.

2. Respect Property of others by behaving honestly and taking only what has been given for the sake of a good practice.

3. Respect Sexuality by celibacy or behaving openly with adult relations pursuing only cooperative partnership, commitment and love for the sake of a healthy practice. 

4. Respect Speech by saying what is helpful, true, necessary, without harm and distracting free for the sake of a mindful practice.

5. Respect The Mind, Heart and Body Consumption by consuming only what is needed for health, a clear mind and physical balance without leading one to carelessness for the sake of a careful practice.

The Five Precepts are a prescription and learning process. With practice these precepts lead to knowledge that is self evident. They are not commandments. Commandments are based on something outside of yourself. Precepts are the suggested practice of those who have obtained knowledge that is based on experience.

The Refuge:

As I stated earlier I had to go to my refuge. I practiced mediating and the result was that I felt better, I accepted my thoughts and I was able to increase happiness by putting it all together for you.

How to meditate regardless of your circumstance:

1. Sit up straight if you can. The goal is to have your spine straight. Work on this. If you are paraplegic, then you are as straight as your going to get. Don't panic. In your mind visualize yourself as a straight line from one end of your body to the other.

2. Breath through your nose. Shut your mouth. Again, do the best that you can. 

3. Observe, watch or feel your breath move through your nose. Focus on this regardless of what your mind thinks. This teaches you that your mind is controlled by you.

4. Practice for a designated time. Give yourself a time limit. Say to yourself, "I will do this for 5 minutes." In my case I use a meditation timer on my phone and I practice for 30 minutes.

5. Set your goal and record your progress. I draw with magic marker on a calendar a half circle in the morning practice and a half circle for the evening practice. My goal is an hour a day.  I have a whole circle of I successfully do two sessions.

6. When you finish remember how you used your breath and do this throughout your day! Use it any time. No one can take this from you. Hyperbole may invade your mind but that's when your mind is not in your breath!

That's it. 

The Source: 

The source of this practice comes from Buddhism. More specifically it comes from the Thai, Theravada, Forest Tradition. For many years I have practiced by reading books. I spent money on lots of books and I took classes. 

I will advise that you not pay for any classes, books, teachings or advice. The Theravada Forest Tradition specifically will not charge you for any books, classes, teachings or teachers. It's free. The Buddha never charged for his classes so we should not either.

The Buddha is a person, a human, who has awakened his mind by practice. The above teaching will lead you to this too. Ultimately it will position you to understand that It Doesn't Matter What Other People Do. It only matters what you do and how you practice doing.