Monday, June 20, 2005

Mindfulness and Reality

Okay, maybe the title of this post is a little highfalutin'. But the message is mundane. One of the key lessons of Buddhism for me, and which I seek to incorporate into my life as much as possible, is that my vision of reality is necessarily flawed. This is true of any unenlightened being.

Still with me? Here's a real-life example from today. Yesterday and today, the weather has gotten much nicer than it had been recently. Things are drying out, and it's getting warmer. Turtles are starting to appear in the neighborhood.

When I got home, I heard the extractor fan in the loft window was on. It's on a thermostat, so that wasn't any big surprize.

A couple hours later, I ventured up into the loft to water the plants that live there. I found the fan on the floor, and the window closed. I had taken the fan out of the window on one of the chilly nights, and closed the window, but had neglected to unplug the fan, or turn the thermostat to a position so the fan wouldn't turn on.

In other words, I had lived in a fantasy world for a couple hours, assuming that the fan was in the window, pulling hot air out of the house. I think we all live in fantasy worlds. Some of them are relatively inconsequential fantasies, like my fan's location. Others are truly of ultimate concern, such as the misconception that humans are important in the overall scheme of things; or, the equally horrible misconception that, since humans aren't important in the overall scheme of things, it is not important to try to live by some sort of moral precepts.

May we all strive to live free of our fantasies, or at least in some sort of awareness of them.