Life Is a Series of Mind Moments

Andrew Olendzki Quote Thirteen Thieves Blog

Life Is a Series of Mind Moments

Though the Buddha woke up suddenly and unshakabley, I don’t think we need to regard awakening in such an all or nothing way. Life is a series of mind-moments, each one a new creation. Every moment we inherit something from her past, transform it into our present experience, and thereby see the consequences that will unfold in our future. Each moment to toxins we encounter may be either compounded or abandoned. A moment without greed, hatred, or delusion is an awakened moment. A Person may not be considered awakened unless the toxins are thoroughly eliminated, but even an awakened person can have an awakened moment. As the Buddha put it: 

If one shows kindness with a clear mind- 
Even once! - for living creatures,
By that one becomes wholesome.

My suggestion is simply that as we walk the path we do not look up so much at the destination, high above in the mist, but carefully place one foot in front of the other. A path keeps us centered, guiding us from veering right or left into dangerous territory. It may also deliver us to the summit, but only if each step is well taken. Every mindful moment in which generosity displaces greed, compassion takes the place of hatred, and insight dislodges delusion is a moment in which we are awake. If we can manage one moment of wisdom why not another?


Written by Andrew Olendzki
From the book: Untangling Self: A Buddhist Investigation of Who We Really Are

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