In the spirit of sangha and lovingkindness, Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia offers this week’s reflections for the NYI community.
One of the last things my father said to me before he died was, “Don’t waste your energy rehashing what has been or imagining a brighter future. Be content with what you have and who you are.” He was seventy-four at the time and, although he didn’t know it, he was not long for this world. He had always been a practical man, apparently more interested in teaching my sisters and I how to get along in the world—how to lay tile or mow the lawn or conduct ourselves in the board room—than in encouraging us to contemplate the meaning of life. But now he bore the signs of someone who was worn out from years of hard work and striving. I remember thinking at the time that his words did not appear to be the empty musings of an aged father making one last pitch for the welfare of his daughter, but rather the thoughtful expression of something he had recently realized and wanted to share. And so this kernel of wisdom stayed with me.
The Buddha encouraged us to avoid “chasing after what is gone and yearning for what is yet to be” (MN 131.3) and to cultivate the right attitude towards the present. Who knows the depth of what my father came to understand late in life? But I’ve been chewing on his words and the words of the Buddha for many years now. With any luck the wisdom of this simple message will find its way into my heart.
Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia
Gloria Taraniya is a Lay Buddhist Minister in association with Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in CA. She is a Core Faculty member at Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and served as Insight Meditation Society Resident Teacher for many years.