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  • leonimcgough

Nirvana is already here

Most people live with a feeling of lacking something. We think that we are not enough: Not special enough, not clever enough, not beautiful enough, not successful enough. We spend so much time running after things, trying to find happiness. Whilst we are constantly running, we don’t realise that we are already there, that we always have been and always will be. It is like in the old story of the headless prince, who is desperately looking for his own head, until one of his servants hits him very hard and he realises that his head was never lost.

When we Zen Buddhists say Nirvana is already here, then we mean exactly that: We are always where we are meant to be, we have already arrived. This breath, this moment, we in this very moment are complete. As long as we try to seek perfection on the outside - in order to balance the sense of imperfection on the inside - by owning more, achieving more, or looking better, the feeling of emptiness inside will never go away. It will always accompany us and determine our existence, drive us and torment us. We cannot rest because we are always searching, because we keep running, hoping to find answers that have long been right in front of our eyes. We just don't see them. The saddest thing is that we miss out on so much. Instead of living we are waiting for our life to get better. Happiness is not something that will happen to us sometime in the future if we just look for it or wait for it long enough - happiness is within us. In order to see this and live it, we must let go of our concept of happiness and unhappiness and just BE happy by accepting what is instead of worrying about what could or should be. We have to stop living with the plan to be happy later and with the feeling that we are not enough now, that we don't have enough to be satisfied: The idea "When I have achieved . . I will be happy” is an illusion and a vicious circle in which we are trapped. As long as we search for happiness outside of ourselves, the search and the waiting will never stop. As soon as we have achieved something, the search starts again and we continue to wait for happiness to finally come to us. We spend way too much time in our lives waiting instead of living. We are waiting for luck, for love, for the next success, the next vacation, the next salary increase, for the weekend. We wait and wait, and while we wait, we let life pass us by without actually being there. Our life is impermanent and infinitely precious. Instead of chasing after some constructs, we should wake up and dive deep into life. Life is never just easy, beautiful and wonderful, it is often difficult, sad and sometimes very unfair, but it is all we have, it is our existence, our limited time here on this earth. If we understand that our happiness is not determined from the outside, but we carry it within us, it can always be present in our lives. A happy life is not a life full of status symbols and success stories, a happy life is a life lived moment by moment with awareness and a feeling of being complete just the way we are.

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