As Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” I believe that our journey during this passage here on Earth should be one of seeking greater understanding in order to experience the cessation of suffering. Liberation from suffering — the attainment of a calm peace and lasting happiness — comes from the practice of deep and diligent observation and examination of life. I believe that one of the most important things we can do during our lifetime is to continuously and carefully examine our beliefs in order to consciously unlearn the wrong notions we may have unconsciously learned and adopted. This practice of looking deeply into the nature of reality brings about a greater awareness which makes it easier to identify and remove wrong perceptions. This expanded view and comprehension also brings us more peace by reducing our judgment, criticism, and condemnation, and by enhancing our acceptance, compassion, and love.
Through diligent observation we become acutely aware, for instance, of the continuous transformation and impermanence of everything. This realization removes a major source of suffering in life. If we come to recognize that nothing is created and nothing is lost, but everything is transformed; if we realize, by detailed observation, that something cannot become nothing; if we understand that there is no birth and no death, but all that there is is continuous transformation, continuation, and reintegration with the whole, we remove one of the major obstacles for lasting happiness: the fear of death.
Through conscientious scrutiny, we also come to realize that there is no isolated self, that we all are intensely interrelated, and that, therefore, as the Buddha said, “nothing, whatsoever, should be clung to as I, me, or mine,” because this clinging is a source of suffering.
If we want to look deeply into the nature of reality and have a clearer understanding, mindfulness meditation is probably the best practice. In this aspect, it is very much like science, and meditators are very much like scientists who observe phenomena thoroughly, with great curiosity and ardency, while constantly checking to make sure they are not lost in a territory of wrong perceptions, fantasies, and illusions.
I would like to encourage you to dedicate yourself to the mission of observing and understanding yourself and your own patterns of behavior. This shall expand your ability to make wiser choices and alleviate whatever suffering you may be experiencing.
And if we are able to continue on this path, practicing mindfulness diligently, perhaps we can become examples of lives well lived. Perhaps we will inspire others to engage in this work of paying attention to life, and perhaps this is what will reveal to them a way out of suffering. This is a noble endeavor and a greater reminder that our practice is not selfish; we don’t practice for ourselves alone.
Nirvana (Sanskrit) or Nibbana (Pali) are words that describe a state of being in which people experience the extinction of the fires of attachment, hatred and delusion that cause suffering.
Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.
Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store
– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”
– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”
– “Silent Peace Walk”