Training Your Mind: A Long Term View
Recently, I attended 10-days meditation retreat offered by Abhayagiri Monastery. On the third day of the retreat Ajahn Pasanno, the guiding elder of the monastery, posed a question, “Do you have the right view? You may be doing meditation for a long time but do you have the right view?” It is a profound question that applies to everything in life. “Right View” or “Long Term View” or “Purpose” or “Goal”. It can be called many different things. What is Long Term View or Purpose or Goal or Right View?
What is A Long Term View?
Long term view is our vision for our life. A vision, if achieved, will make us feel fulfilled at the end. Long term view is usually based on the convictions or beliefs we have about certain things in life. Most of us have a few convictions or ideas we believe in whole heartedly. For example, providing comfort and security for one’s family, making the world a better place by spending time in service of others, or making the world a better place by bringing freedom or equality to all.
There are examples all around us of the people who have built their lives around what is most important to them. Starting from prominent people like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein, Jacinda Ardern or Malala to the parents that sacrifice everything for their kids’ future. There are people from all races, religions, ethnicities, and all walks of life that have overcome impossible odds and achieved unparalleled results. They all have one thing in common, they devoted their lives to a cause that they believe in. Everything they do in their lives is informed by their belief in their ideas.
I have been reading the biography of George Washington by Ron Chernow and the Memoir of President Obama “The Promised Land”. George Washington and Barack Obama did not start out with a goal in mind to become the president of the United States of America. Becoming president was one of the steps in their lives to bring about changes they believed in. Their vision for their lives was to make their respective worlds a better place for all. They both had deep convictions in their beliefs, they worked relentlessly and inspired people to follow them to bring the changes they believed in. George Washington voluntarily stepped down from the position of highest power in the country because it was the right thing to do for the long term health of his country. He led by example. This also explains the difference between short term goals and long term view.
How do we find our long term view?
Identifying a long term view is a process of training our minds to listen to ourselves. For most of us as we start out, it may be just a loosely worded belief. Remember no long term view or purpose is right or wrong. It is your own personal vision for your life. Your long term view is not based on what is expected of you by society or others. While reflecting on your long term view be true to yourself and listen to yourself. Remember to not expect perfection from yourself and your life.
As you continue to reflect on your long term view from time to time, you may see that it has changed or become clearer or more nuanced. This is normal. This is a process of training our minds in listening to ourselves and identifying our own vision for our life and adapting to changes.
We will go into more details as this Long Term View Series develops in the future posts.
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