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Archive for January, 2010

The “Cereal Syndrome”

My favorite cereal is the classic Honey Bunches of Oats with almonds, but you’ll still find me standing in front of a barricade of cereals at some supermarket, trying to figure out if I want to try something new. And you know what? After much thought, I still end up buying the same old cereal or two.

Recently, I scanned through a cook book and found plenty of good dishes to try out. Nearly every page had an exotic recipe with a great photo. And guess what? I still end up favoring those few tried dishes that always seem to hit the right spot. It isn’t to say that I don’t try new dishes, but maybe it’s about practicing restraint instead of indulging in the luxury of choices.

With so many choices in the market, I find that time is often wasted on choosing because whether one likes it or not, nearly every product or service has competition. So if left uncontrolled, being choosy becomes a habit of one’s daily life. Even when one returns home after shopping, the “Cereal Syndrome” remains. It may translate to one’s personal life where one isn’t satisfied with one’s life partner and may move on from one to another. It may also enter one’s work life where one changes jobs so often that saving money becomes an issue. Even in spirituality, from dancing yoga to tibetan monasteries, the choices are plenty. ¬†A person who tries various spiritual paths may end up looking like a hippie and experience dissatisfaction. If the habit remains uncontrolled, bad choices are easily made and can be quite harmful.

With a little restraint in a world of choices, one could probably solve half of one’s worries and problems, and that’s pretty good. So the next time I reach out for a different cereal, I might give it a second thought just for the sake of self-discipline.

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No Year Resolution

Surely it is hard to come across people who have kept up each of their New Year resolutions. Kudos to those few who have!

On the whole, a New Year resolution is something to contemplate about. It is a bit like meditation–we focus our attention on improving ourselves. We tell ourselves to cut back on sweets or maintain a healthy lifestyle and so on. This urge to improve oneself is not foreign to meditators, but the main difference is that in making resolutions we use our mind while in¬†meditation we don’t.

With the mind, we make sweeping declarations that satisfy our egos for the time being. Eventually we find our efforts fizzle out and we are back to square one. We may feel a little saddened about our lack of accomplishments. So, if meditation is about helping ourselves but it goes beyond the mind, there is no question of feeling saddened or overly elated. We simply need to enrich our meditative experience and the rest takes care of itself. As we balance out, so does our lifestyle and personality.

Unless you’re planning on a weight loss or garage cleaning schedule, toss out those resolutions and start bringing some real balance within.

Happy New Year!

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