We have a dear student at Uttara who began last Summer bringing an arrangement of flowers to class on Saturday mornings Such a simple but appreciated kindness; fresh flowers; grown, selected and arranged with kindness and love.
And as the weeks passed by and we moved towards Fall, we had an interesting exchange as he brought in his weekly bounty. “It’s getting harder” he explained “now that the Summer flowers are gone.” “What is beautiful is less obvious; and I have made it a weekly spiritual practice — on Saturday mornings, I go out and I find something beautiful.”
And oh, yes, they still were beautiful; arrangements of leaves and greenery; of grasses and seedpods; colors shifting to the subtle but beautiful Fall hues.
Remembering to look for the beauty and the bounty in life is indeed a deep spiritual practice and also a biological imperative. There is real brain science behind the thinking that positivity and gratitude create a healthier, happier body and mind.
During a recent trip to Asheville to study with Michael and Stephanie Johnson we were studying the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and they were weaving the ancient text into the modern science of brain research. Check out the book Buddha’s Brain for more info.
My simple take-aways from the weekend of teaching were two-fold: one, that for every negative thought you need a minimum of 3 positive thoughts to counter that negative thought and neutralize it. Wow, that’s a lot of positive thinking! Studies had shown that a 1 to 1 ratio of positive to negative thoughts meant you were in the depression zone.
The second one was for you to spend four days in a row spending 20 minutes writing about the best possible outcome for your life.
We truly are permitted the choice; glass half full; glass half empty; who-took-my-damn-glass-anyway?
Tomorrow; and the day after; and the day after that; I give you your mission; find the beauty; find the joy. I promise you; they exist.