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Lions Roar : September 2016
conversation that my mother and Aunt Celia had fifty-nine years ago when my son Michael was born. Every time I go through certain old boxes I lament, once again, that I lost it. Extra suffering! Not having the tape is the same as having it. I remember what they said. I hear them in my mind. I am happy when I think of them. I do not need the tape. Here are some questions you might ask yourself when con- sidering items in your closet—or opinions in your mind: Is this still useful to me? Do I use it regularly? I gave my sewing machine to my neighbor’s daughter because I no longer make my own clothing. When I have a need to repair something, she does it for me. Or I take it to the dry cleaning store, because they do repairs. I just gave up riding my bike, so I gave all my biking clothing and gear to the bike store, which passes them along to people who can’t afford them. (I did keep one pair of pants and shoes, just in case.) How would I feel if I gave it away? If I give away items of clothing I rarely wear, or those I need to lose ten pounds to wear again, I will feel better about helping other people and not be reminded of my attachment to how much I weigh. If I erase the opinion that people who vote as I do are better people than people who vote differently, I could skip the adden- dum on the thought, “Here comes my cousin whom I love, even though she votes wrong” and think, “Here comes my cousin whom I love.” That would feel better. If I give up saying the word “should” and use “I wish” in its place, I’d be a happier person. When “I wish I had remembered to return her call” replaces “I should have phoned her back,” I avoid feeling guilty and am inspired to phone now. “I wish the world had rallied to the cause of healing the environment ear- lier” replaces negative thoughts about who is responsible with a personal intention to act for the good. Be attentive to moments in which you feel you have everything you need. Notice moments when you feel at ease, safe, contentedly alert in your situation, and aware that your mind is free of tension because it does not need for anything to be different. These moments are affirmations of the Buddha’s third noble truth: “Peace is possible.” Usually these are plain moments in my day, like finishing washing the dishes or drinking coffee and watch- ing the sun rise. Walking my dog yesterday, I noticed that the magnolia tree down the street is about to bloom. I felt I had more than I needed. ♦ LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2016 24 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE