I went in there this morning, in the middle of a hectic slew of midterms for Gen Chem 2, Bio 1, and Genetics, filled with feelings of gnawing dissatisfaction and impatience.
|Buddha statue in the |
SFZC dining hall.
In the hour or so afterward, an understanding dawned in my mind that my failure to appreciate things was directly tied to the miserable emotions I'd been feeling through the week.
Thinking back on the positive experiences that I've had at the Zen Center, I saw the cultivation of appreciation as a unifying theme. Beyond that, in the realm of my everyday experience, I can think of many times when I was feeling miserable even when things were going well, and those were generally times when I was not willing or able to appreciate things, no matter how wonderful they actually were. Conversely, I can think of many times when I could appreciate things, both great and small, and I was filled with happiness. I've even enjoyed unpleasant things when I was able to appreciate them for what they were.
It seems that being able to appreciate people and experiences is a tremendous gift. Without it, even a fortunate and successful life seems bleak. With it, it takes very little to feel happy.
When I'm in a foul mood, I instinctively grasp for something that will alter my perceptions, perhaps so that things seem different, new, and more obvious, making it easier to appreciate what's around me. In the past, I grasped for alcohol, and maybe that temporarily led me to appreciate things more, but I don't think I ever pinpointed the importance of appreciation in that pursuit, at least not in a way I could remember and use next day.
|The Simple Things|
For that, I'm expressing my appreciation.