Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's All In Your Head

I have a Yahoo! email account that i use only for what i call my "junk" email. That's not spam, in the strict sense of the word, but all the newsletters, daily emails, etc. that i sign up for related to self improvement, get rich with this scheme, The Secret, manifest your desires, and all that other "stuff."

I don't know why i like to read all those emails (they come in boatloads every morning); the vast majority are, for all intents and purposes, nothing but spam but i voluntarily sign up to receive them. In a way it's similar to another quirk i have — i refuse to watch violent movies, will not support the portrayal of violence as a valid way to solve problems, YET, i love and do watch "kung fu" type movies (unless Jackie Chan is in it). Can't explain it, but i won't give those up. Weird, i know.

Anyway, in today's mail there was one promising to give you a free video that will show you exactly, step-by-step, how to sell yourself as an expert in any subject and to make millions (MILLIONS) in just a few years getting paid to speak at seminars, consulting, and writing about your new found expert-level expertise in the area of your choosing.

The more i thought about it the less i doubted that this was a bogus claim. People will believe anything. People can be convinced to believe anything if that something allows them to reinforce the picture they have of themselves in their head.

The question that came to mind as i thought about it, though, was why don't more people acknowledge that truth and voluntarily decide to train their minds in better, more meaningful ways? How have greed and materialism become the defining attributes of a successful life?

I will always call Zen my home, but love Tibetan Buddhism for many of their teachings. For me, Tibetan Buddhism is like running to the library: Want to know more of the theory and philosophy behind buddhism? Look to the Tibetans. And one of their great teachings is the method of Seven Point Mind Training.

All buddhists acknowledge that "it's all in your head," that our problems come from our minds and how we use them (or don't), that if we clean up our internal mess we can clean up our lives and see reality as it really is. The Tibetans, though, actually came up with a list of proverbs, slogans, aphorisms, whatever you choose to call them, that when practiced help you train your mind and keep you on the path. I keep a list of them on my computer where they are always just a click away, but there are numerous web sites dedicated to them. A few of them are here, here, and here.

In total there are 59 slogans and if you accept a practice of working with one a day, forever, 'till death do us part, you come to see that the mind can be trained, your view of life can be altered for the better, your view of yourself, the world, and the inter-relationship between the two can be clarified. It really is an amazing practice.

And then maybe, just maybe, if you memorize all of them you can get that free video and sell yourself as an expert and make a million bucks.

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