What is your long-term plan for happiness? If you don’t know the answer to this question, it’s time that you embarked on your spiritual journey. It’s remarkable how in our daily lives we find time to attend to immediate demands for our attention but we devote relatively few resources to developing our understanding of what tasks are useful and what tasks are a waste of time. This sets up a scenario where the demands on our time increase yet the rewards remain stagnant.
Its only fair that if we work harder, we should be rewarded for that extra effort. How do we get to a place to make that a reality? The answer is that we have to train ourselves in mindfulness so that we know what uses of our time are rewarding and what uses only perpetuate our difficulties. In order for this to work it has to go beyond just theory and move in to the realm of action. The reason for this is because our choices about how we invest our time and money are not based on reason. They are based largely on habit. In the pali language the word for habit is sankhara.
If we want to change our habits so that they support us rather than hinder us, we are attempting to overcome sankhara. Thankfully, the Buddha understood that this was our central challenge so he taught a method that is specifically devoted to the task of destroying our bad habits at their root. This method consists of putting in effort to be mindful on a repeated basis so that mindfulness becomes our predominant habit and in the process displaces other habits that are rooted in heedlessness.
Without these bad habits or sankharas pulling us towards fruitless activity, we can finally devote more of our time to the things that we know are useful. And this fact alone, freedom and peace of mind, can be incredibly satisfying.