What matters to us

February 16, 2016

This is not the traditional way of defining what matters or keeping score, but as usual, the Buddha breaks it down brilliantly to the core meaning of life.  If the Buddha really said it. Some say he didn’t and that it’s a fake quote. It doesn’t really matter to me, because it’s brilliant really, and made me think about what my life review might be like when I reach the end. How would I fare if measured against this definition?

Then I took it one step further. What would it be like, I wondered, if everyone kept score this way?

So how are we doing in the world? We’re in the 21st century and there’s still not enough love to go around. Despite the Golden Rule, despite religious institutions, despite all the things we humans have put in place or say we believe, just look around. If love is the answer, the world isn’t doing very well.  But little pockets of people who live their love exist everywhere. I know some of them. I’d like to know more. And I’d like to be more loving, myself.

When I see a reference to gentle living, I always think of the environment and the footprint we leave on the world.  We’re not doing so well there, either.  Yes, it’s much easier to simply throw that empty plastic container away than to wash it for recycling. Some people still litter, we see evidence of it everywhere.Too few are conserving water in drought-plagued regions. And big, gas-guzzling vehicles are still popular.  Gentle living also makes me think of gentle touches with our loved ones, our colleagues and our friends. I can do better here.

Letting go of things not meant for us? That’s such a big one. Letting go of a loved one or a beloved. Or of a toxic job. Letting go of a home. I can think of many ways we are challenged to let go. I haven’t always done these with grace.

There isn’t enough emphasis on these kind of precepts from parents or at school. It’s likely that few kids would identify these as being important.. So is it any wonder that bullying is rampant in schools?  that vile lyrics can be heard on popular songs? and that kids instead look up to celebrities who haven’t done anything but seek fame and fortune?

It would be nice if organized religion did a better job teaching these concepts. It’s not like they are completely absent from most religious instruction; they’re just absent from the way many religious people live. No denomination does a good job with these concepts.

I’d love to know where your mind went when you read the quote. Your thoughts?

12 comments on “What matters to us
  1. When I think of letting go of things not meant for me, I think of letting go of self-doubt and self-loathing. Letting go of anxiety and worry and all the things that cloud my mind and dampen my spirit. Those things that affect my ability to love and live gently.

  2. I think we can only speak in generalizations on this topic since it runs too wide and too deep. Of course the world is always in need of repair. There are plenty of worries, hatred, dishonesty and violence everywhere. But there is also love and community.

    I pray for a healthier world and at my end I try to love as much as possible without being stomped over by people who aren’t so nice. Letting go is very hard for me. I’m working on that one. Great, thought provoking post, Carol.

  3. Wow. Did this resonate today: How gracefully you let go of the things that are not MEANT for you. A piece of wisdom that has JUST come to me. You usually hear this as “…things that are not important.” But ‘meant’ for you is truly digging deeper. Awesome Carol.

  4. Beth Havey says:

    Yes, this resonated with me too. But I have to pull back and realize that being a good writer, though it can be a struggle. WAS meant for me. Maybe great success at that was not. We all struggle with things left behind–especially as we age. Thanks for this great post.

  5. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    This quote resonates with me, too. I think as we get older we do realize what was not meant to be. How we let it go, or if we let it go, is largely up to us.

  6. This quote empowers me to think of my own meaning in life. I will love more, I will live gently, and gracefully.

  7. Lizzi says:

    I love this quote, and it makes me hopeful for the state of the world, that so many people ARE becoming more mindful, and ARE taking care to live more gently. But it also worries me because I don’t like letting go of things not meant for me, and I don’t like having to admit those things (or people) aren’t sustainable.

  8. Liv says:

    It’s a wonderful quote – and you’re right – it would be great if we would all live by it.

  9. Love is everything. I don’t do graceful or gentle very well 🙂

  10. I really try hard to let go of anything toxic in my life or in my way, and that has been such a help. You don’t realize what a drain on your energy negativity can be, until you’ve lifted it.

  11. Tammy says:

    I do love this motto and repeat it to myself often. Helping myself to be my best self. Some days go better than others. As far as religions go, I think (having been entrenched in Catholic, Baptist and Judaism), the Jews have it going on and come super close to the belief structure of this awesome quote.

  12. Lisa Froman says:

    That third one is a mother.

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