Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Cause and Effect Are Obvious

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One of the earliest lessons that I learned about Buddhism is also one of the most valuable: you get what you put in. If you plant corn, you get corn. If you fill your head with angry, self-centered thoughts, then it serves to reason that the quality of your life will reflect the content of your mind.

And yet people are often mystified by the simple cause-and-effect processes that govern the world and their lives. They want to hack the system, so to speak, and find the easiest route to happiness without sacrificing the comfort of their lives. But life doesn't work that way.

Anyone who has ever been on a diet can attest to this fact: change requires...well, change. If we continue the same patterns of thinking and behaving as we habitually have, then it's foolish to expect different results. It's simple cause and effect. 

This reminds me of a joke. 
A man goes to the doctor, who asks him, "What's the problem?" 
He raises his arm and says, "It hurts when I do this." 
"Then don't do that," the doctor says and walks away. 
Buddhist practice doesn't seek some mystical loophole in the laws of the universe that will allow us to defy gravity; rather, it is completely grounded in the law of cause and effect. It fully recognizes the mundane fact that we get what we put in. If we want to find peace and happiness, then our minds and hearts must reflect that.  If we eat like shit, then that's how we will feel.

We cannot expect to find peace if our minds are constantly racing, scheming about the best way to exploit a situation or other people. Selfish people have selfish hearts, just as hungry people have hungry thoughts.

If we genuinely want to be happy, then we must stop the behavior that cause us to be unhappy. Transformation requires sacrifice. There is no way around it. Cause and effect are obvious.  

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