Life is short: Think BPP

Life is short: Think BPP

Dalai Lama, the chief lama and until 1959 ruler of Tibet once said:

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.  That is clear.  Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life.  So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness… And happiness can be achieved through training the mind.”

The leader of the Tibetan people was not referring to “the mind’ merely as one’s cognitive ability or intellect.  Rather, he was using the term in the sense of the Tibetan word Sem, which has a much broader meaning, encompassing intellect and feeling, heart and mind.  By bringing about a certain inner discipline, we can undergo a transformation of our attitude, and our approach to living.

I have started thinking about how to spend the twilight of my life in a peaceful state of mind. My recent motto happens to be “Think BPP”. Confusing, isn’t it? Let me explain it fully.  THINK: As human beings, we are endowed with the wonderful ability to think, which is far superior to any other animal.   BP: You may immediately think of British Petroleum. P: The letter P is sometimes used as a short form of ‘pee’ to indicate urination.   But let’s cut to the chase!

My acronym is THINK BIG, PINK, POSITIVE.  It seems ludicrous perhaps to think BIG when you are considered to be ‘over the hill’.  Surely thinking big is only for the young and ambitious, and isn’t that a famous double Melbourne Cup winner?  Or is it worrying that your private bits could do with enlargement?  You only have to turn on your television set or computer to see images of people enlarging this or that or wanting to be bigger or better than someone else in order to give themselves self-esteem.  What a sad indictment on society that we’re not content with who we really are!

When I talk about THINKING BIG, I mean, forget about the small things of life that are petty and meaningless, and look at the bigger picture.  The little things of everyday life that irk us like  car parking, queues, tradesmen, wives, husbands, children, relatives, shopping, train delays, road rage, traffic fines etc… are all part of the rich tapestry of our lives, but often we cannot change how we react to them or the situations they can create. If we react to the small things then we lose sight of the big picture.  Does it really matter if you don’t get that particular parking space or that you have to stand in a queue?  Do your intimate relationships cause you misery because you dwell on minute details?   Some human beings can’t cope with these things because they are not happy within themselves.  Sometimes this leads to angry exchanges, and even violence, injury or death. Everything in life could therefore be considered petty as opposed to the biggest thing which is ‘death’.  And even when you die, you know nothing, so why bother?

This brings me to my next part of the acronym THINK PINK.  Why PINK you ask?  Because ‘pink’ is feminine, soft and denotes happiness, peace and health.  If you think pink, you think happy and you won’t feel depressed by little things.  It’s probably hard for us to reason with this when we have such quotations as “Life wasn’t meant to be easy” from George Bernard Shaw, or the Buddhist belief that we were all born into “A Sea of Misery”.  Many of us in our lifetime strove to attain things such as a job, promotion, a house, a lover, and when we were deprived of the opportunity, we became depressed.   But often from such adversity there ultimately came far better things that gave us peace, stability and happiness beyond our wildest dreams.   “Happiness comes through doors you didn’t even know you left open”.

And now to my final part of the acronym. THINK POSITIVE. You have probably heard of the old saying: “It’s not the destination that is important, but the journey.” In other words, the way you live your life is far more important than what you may achieve.  “A truly happy person is one who  can enjoy the scenery on a detour”.

We all lead interesting lives but petty jealousies can create sniping and ridicule and make us feel inferior.  It’s a cruel irony that you have to develop incredible coping mechanisms to interact with your fellow man and woman, because not everyone wants to think positive. You’ve met these people! They’re the ones we call “misery guts”. They’re never happy unless they’re pulling someone down.  What they haven’t learnt is that anger and hate are useless and life-threatening emotions.  Why life-threatening you ask?  When you get angry, your immune system suffers, and you are then open to all kinds of opportunistic diseases.  And ranting and raving about someone is useless, because that someone usually doesn’t know how much you hate them, so you may as well howl at the moon.

I can hear you say: “How can you think positive in a world full of terrorism, natural disasters and uncertainty? “  Would it do any good to tell you that such words have been uttered down through the ages for thousands of years?  There will always be those who hate sufficiently enough to make our lives a misery, but if we ourselves make our life a misery, then who can we blame? Not terrorists, not the mother-in-law, the politicians or other leaders!  The answer to happiness and inner peace lies within us.  Forget about the negatives and look to the positives and happiness in our lives.  And happiness is all in your mind.  Is it not wonderful to delight in the birth of a child, the return of a loved one, the joy of giving happiness through a gift, a smile, a compliment, a lovely home-cooked meal, a wonderful excursion or just a quiet time spent relaxing and talking? These are the things that count, and if you concentrate on achieving small happinesses then the bigger happinesses are sure to come your way.

To put it in a nutshell:

Think BIG to forget the petty things of life;
Think PINK to avoid feeling unhappy;
Think POSITIVE to overcome adversity.

It’s all up to you!

Frank N. Trinh
Sydney, 2006

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