In the middle of the night, my 3 year old son started screaming, “No, No, No.” After waking from a nightmare, he was inconsolable. “I want something,” he babbled for half an hour. Water, blankets, stuffed animals, Mommy–nothing could make him stop crying. In my half-awake state, I realized that he was teaching me about Buddhism.
In his first teaching after enlightenment, the Buddha explained the Four Noble Truths. The First Noble Truth states that all life is suffering. The Second Noble Truth explains that suffering is caused by craving conditioned by ignorance. Obviously, my son was suffering because he was craving something. The last two noble truths are about how to end suffering by eradicating craving and ignorance.
The realization my son taught me is that cravings and ignorance are often attached to fear. This gives us a more central root of suffering that we can dig up on our way to peace of mind. If we excavate the fear, we can often eliminate a number of cravings all at once.
“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.“~St. Francis de Assisi
As an example, I’ve listed some of my fears, the related cravings/desires, and the wisdom I’m using to release the fear.
Craving/Clinging On to Ignorance
|That I am not good enough
That I don’t matter
|Petty competitions—I’m a better than you/my kid is smarter than yours
Exaggeration, lying, bragging
|We are all one.
“We are all cells in God’s body”~Spinoza
“Circumstances don’t matter. Only State of Being matters.”~Bashar
|That my past is a scar that will not heal
That I have made mistakes that I can’t recover from
|“Your life is not working out perfectly.”~Jeff Foster
Mistakes “do not define us; they guide us”~Jonathan Hilton
“One must be a god to be able to tell successes from failures without making a mistake.” ~Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
|What others think about me
How others judge me
Creating a façade
|“Speak your truth even/especially if your voice shakes.”~Jeff Foster
“Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.”~St. Francis de Assisi
“Judge not”~Bob Marley
|That I will not be able to provide for my family||Greed
Get rich quick schemes
|“Wisdom says I am nothing. Love says I am everything. Between the two my life flows.”~Nisargadatta Maharaj
We are created in God’s image>God is a creator>We are creators>Never doubt your ability to create—your godliness.
Maybe this realization is obvious to others, but I feel better equipped to tackle my fears and cravings using this chart.
“All of my teachings can be put in a single sentence. ‘Nothing is to be clung to as I, me, or mine.’” ~The Buddha
Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.
What are your fears? How would you fill out the chart? Please share.