Saturday, May 16, 2009

Preparing For The Best

Last week over at the Dangerous Harvest blog a couple of comments were made that have stuck with me and which I have tried to bring into my daily practice.  In a discussion of Swine Flu there was a comment made about "preparing for the worst" and Barry of the Oxherding blog made an interesting comment of I wonder what it would be like to "prepare for the best"!

Now that turned some lights on  in the dark little room I sometimes bang about in.  My Zen teacher and I often comment  to each other that we are "aversive types" whose minds often go to the dark bits of lint on the carpet.  But to some extent we're all aversive types.  Brain research as cited by people like Rick Hanson over at "Wise Brain" say it's the nature of our brain to be drawn to the negative, rooted deeply in our origin as vulnerable creatures out on the Savannah.  That has helped keep us alive as a species and we still carry this proclivity with us even into our modern world.  What no tigers looking to make a meal out of me, well maybe that neighbour who's making all that noise is a threat to my peace of mind.

So to make a short story long, as I often do, I have been using this as a little mantra, "why not be prepared for the best".  Each time I think about something that could happen or might happen, or something going on that I don't care for, I am practicing saying "why not be prepared for the best".    My Zen teacher would call this "looking up".  And what could be a more helpful way to be in the world.  If we're looking up, we're most likely to see the sun, the birds, the blue sky. Certainly for me it's a turning, it's an opportunity to work with the habitual tendency to look down and see the gum stuck on the side walk.

And it is important I think to remember that looking up, is not putting on rose tinted glasses and saying everything is wonderful if it ain't!  It's not about pushing away our pain if that's what's coming up for us.  It's about not going with the tendency to look through the pain stained glasses all the time.  There is a joke in my family that we make about my mother.  It's either too hot or too cold for her.  And if we're not careful we may find ourselves living out our lives in this same inhospitable environment.  I say time to cultivate a little inner climate change!  I don't have a toothache, it's not raining and I am happy that I am fit and able enough to go off and paint my upstairs hallway today!  I have coffee and a paint brush and am "prepared for the best"


  1. "Cultivate a little inner climate change" - wow, I love that one. Barry's comment struck me too; glad that post got people moving a bit.


  2. I have to second Nathan's opinion:
    Loved your comment about cultivating "a little inner climate change." I feel that is where I am at the moment. And thanks for passing on Barry's quote of "prepare for the best."