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Lions Roar : March 2015
ADVICE FOR DIFFICULT TIMES Entering a Bleak World Question: I’m graduating from univer- sity next year. I want to be ambitious and inspired but the world I’m entering feels bleak. Every day I look at the news, technology, the environment, politics, and the economy and I feel dizzy. How can I create a life of long-term happi- ness and fulfillment when the world is so insecure? Noah Levine answers: This question has to be looked at from the perspective of what actually leads to happiness and fulfillment. The Buddha was clear and consistent in his message not to seek happiness from the world or any external source. Life is an internal journey of taking full responsibility for our own happiness and finding fulfillment through wise actions and compassionate engagement with the world as it is. Coming of age in these times of economic insecurity, environmental degradation, political strife, and the technology blitzkrieg can be seen as a blessing. Rather than being seduced by materialism and a false sense of security, the dizzying affects of the world as it is today can lead to the dissatisfaction and disillusionment that help us turn inward toward spiritual practice. So, my encouragement is to start the process of finding all that you seek from within your own heart. This may be a good time to do some deep meditation practice, or find a Buddhist community and a qualified teacher. Part of the process of awakening will certainly be finding a source of livelihood that you feel good about. If possible, also do some work as a volunteer. Do some- thing with your time and energy that cre- ates a positive change in the world. NOAH LEVINE is the founder of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. His new book is Refuge Recovery. LEGGO YOUR EGO MOST OF US LET EGO run our lives without realizing it. Few of us know how deeply our ego—the less mature, defen- sive part of us that reacts personally to every little thing—sabotages us by resist- ing what is. Safety, not happiness or love, is ego’s single goal. It pulls out all the stops when helping us avoid possible hurt, discomfort, or pain—especially a broken heart. Ego is so focused on the past and future, it has no time to waste on the present. Our journey into waking up begins with the following steps: • Notice ego’s seductive strategies to resist life and react personally—and then label them “thinking.” • Notice ego’s compulsion to make our reality different, better or easier—and embrace the present. • Notice ego’s chronic like/dislike reac- tion to what is true—and let it go. • Notice ego’s obsession with past and future thoughts—and let them go. With each passing day, as we label thoughts and let them go, we find our- selves living in the present more often while moments of staying lost in anger, jealousy, or worry last much less time. Our true nature—our unlimited joy, kindness, compassion, and inner peace—patiently awaits our arrival in the present. — Carolyn Hobbs Adapted from Free Yourself: Ten Life-Changing Pow- ers of Your Wise Heart (Wisdom Publications). ©ISTOCK.COM/OVERSNAPMEGUMIYOSHIDA Send your question to