“We’ve discovered that the continual search for something better does not work out.”
Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön
It seems there’s a paradox. We want to make the world a better place, to live comfortably and safely, and to be better people. Yet, here’s a well-regarded Buddhist nun pointing out that it doesn’t really lead to satisfaction.
So, why bother?
Is it a paradox?
As long as there is sunshine, sunflowers will stretch their heads toward its warmth and light.
As long as the tasty-looking grass is on the other side of the fence, horses and cows will stretch their tongues to have a tasty snack.
All of us, humans, sunflowers, and cattle, have an innate desire for something else.
For humans, the difference is in our attachment to things which don’t exist. We have wonderfully active imaginations and memories, both of which take us away from what’s in front of us.
This causes at least two problems. First, it means we miss out on the present moment. As if that weren’t enough, it also means we’ll stay unhappy, because we’ll never fully attain our imagined past or future.
So, while her words may at first seem discouraging, they’re actually quite hopeful. By returning to the present moment, we can enjoy the present moment, with its sunshine. tastes, and so much more.