Sharon’s Day 16 message on cultivating positivity felt particularly meaningful for me today. Our sangha does regular joy and gratitude exercises to help us cultivate those attitudes. And in those moments, reflecting on the week or the day, I can find sources of joy and gratitude. But I am also constantly finding that I do not live those moments of positivity to the fullest. Not in the sense of clinging but in fully appreciating how meaningful those moments are. Why is it that when I reflect I can find positivity but miss them while they are present?
I know some of it is the result of that sense of personal unworthiness that the teacher of our sangha and Sharon talk about. In our modern culture we are encouraged to be dissatisfied so we will consume to fill a void. Or we are encouraged to cultivate a sense of material unworthiness in relation to others. I remember a friend who had a beautiful house in a lovely old neighborhood. But she spoke of a sense of dissatisfaction because she had visited several friends with new, giant homes in suburbia. She felt like a failure.
In this contemporary environment finding positivity in our own experiences or in the experiences of others, it seems to me, becomes more difficult. In part, it is breaking free of this mindset, one that steals so much from us, that leads me to so value Sharon’s message on positivity. To dwell fully in each positive moment is, for me, one key to moving away from this modern cultivation of eternal dissatisfaction. It is not a zero sum world until we make it one. My joy in a sunset does not take away from anyone else. And their pleasure does not diminish mine.
There is no competition in seeking our individual sources of positivity.