I know; it's your day off, so you drag yourself out of bed and throw on the same clothes you wore yesterday. What the heck, you'll be working around the house all day anyway, why even take a shower, you can take a shower and change clothes later.
You grab some coffee, stumble into the media room and turn on the TV just in time to hear CNN complaining that congress is taking a vacation without passing any important legislation - again. Those lazy, good for nothing fools that you naively voted in! And the newspaper - it still isn't on the porch. It's been coming later and later, lately. Nobody seems to care anymore, you think to yourself, as you stare at your dirty socks.
A sharp knock on the door suddenly shocks you out of your misery. Surprise! Old friends, whom you haven't seen in years, stand there smiling, “We wanted to surprise you so you wouldn't go to any trouble, " they gush. Oh Great, no shower, dirty hair, clothes that look like you've slept in them, and you stand there trying to smile back. How do things like this sneak up on you? Why can't you be prepared for anything? It's because you lack discipline.
Discipline. Sounds like torture, doesn't it? But discipline is what will make the world a better place, because discipline is actually freedom. How can forcing yourself to be disciplined be freedom, you ask incredulously. It's because discipline - uncomplicated discipline - leads to freedom from remorse, and freedom from remorse, believe it or not, leads to virtue and morality.
So what's so great about virtue and morality? It's simply that virtue and morality lead directly to joy, and joy, in turn, changes into bliss. So, from a little discipline, we can become free of regrets, and experience joy and bliss. But there's more! Out of bliss emerges an incredible tranquility and ease, erasing all stress. Hard to believe but true.
So, is that it? Tranquility and the end of stress? No. From tranquility comes incredible happiness, the happiness we yearn for, the happiness that nurtures a stable mind that can really concentrate, undistracted, and solve almost any problem we face. And when all of the problems are solved? Ah . . . then one acquires those rare traits that are usually reserved for the sages and saints - vision and knowledge of reality!
Finally, you can turn your attention on that which is greater, that which is your deliverance, and when you can do this, you can turn away from the all the things that have caused this world of ours to inflict so much pain on so many people. Then, you can deliver yourself from the world itself, yet mystically remain in it, as you merge with the greater.
And in the process, you will truly make the world a better place.
E. Raymond Rock of Fort Myers, Florida is cofounder and principal teacher at the Southwest Florida Insight Center, http://www.SouthwestFloridaInsightCenter.com - His twenty-eight years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents, including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk. His book, A Year to Enlightenment (Career Press/New Page Books) is now available at major bookstores and online retailers. Visit http://www.AYearToEnlightenment.com