Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Wrong Foot

I subscribe to a lot of magazines... but there's one that I will pay a premium price for, year after year, because it always inspires me in some way:  O Magazine.  I read it cover to cover, and I just fill with ideas and thoughts!

In June, Oprah did an incredible interview with Deepak Chopra (in India, because she's Oprah).  I've never read any of Deepak Chopra's books, but I find that I'm fascinated by the idea of finding balance in life, experiencing spiritually (but not religiously), and simple philosophies about the good in people and the world.  (Kind of like my post about mudita.)

There was a story Deepak told within the article that I couldn't get out of my head:

"I went to a monastery in Thailand... I shaved my head and walked barefoot. My head monk asked how it was walking. I said it hurt without shoes. And he said, "It hurts in the foot that's down, but the one that's up feels really good - so focus on that one.  And I realized that all pain and pleasure is where you put your attention."

Pain and pleasure is where you put your attention.  WOW.  It made me think a lot about not just the physical woes in life, but the emotional ones.  In something so simple as the act of walking barefoot, the monk focused on the relief he felt when he picked up the foot, not the opposite foot hitting the bare ground.... and in that simple act of optimism, he found pleasure in spite of near-simultaneous pain.

How many times have we given up on something because it "hurt" us, when if we'd had a bit more optimism and focused on the positive feelings, we might have gained something?  How many times have we avoided discomfort, when the avoidance may have denied us something pleasurable and good?

I think the monk has the right idea.

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