Unless we are perfect, we are going to make some wrong turns in life and not all our experiences are going to be pleasant. That is an inevitable consequence of living. The only question that remains is whether we are going to allow those events to cause us to suffer by lamenting them and rehashing or whether we are going to let them go, learn from them and continue on living. Are we going to keep driving forward or allow cynicism to bring our progress to a grinding halt?

Intellectually, this makes perfect sense so why do we keep rehashing the past to our own detriment? The reason is that lamentation is function of habit not a function of intelligence. The problem is the tendency to react mentally without any consideration for the suitability of the reaction.  That is why attempting to erase the habit through force of will does not work.  All we are doing is replacing one mindless habit with another.  

The miracle of the Buddha’s teaching is that there is a state of mind that neither indulges in a habit nor attempts to suppress it. We call this state mindfulness and it is simply an awareness of what we are doing in the present moment.

Through mindfulness, we move the contemplated action from the realm of habit to the realm of considered choice. This very short and subtle change of mind state repeated over and over is what is needed to weaken a habit because we are able to observe directly how unsuitable an action or thought pattern is before we take it. 


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(1) Leave the Past Behind, B. Happiness