Impossible Things

ฐานิสสโร ภิกขุ

Impossible Things

Like the character in Through the Looking Glass who liked to think of two or three impossible things every morning before breakfast just as an exercise to open up his brain, it’s good to think about infinity: how long things have been going on and how much longer they could go on if you don’t get your act together. This also helps to put small issues from day-to-day life into perspective. They seem big to us in day-to-day life, but it helps to see them as really small—as preparation for being willing to get the mind to settle down.

The main purpose of this contemplation is samvega—as in the Buddha’s comment that the water in the oceans is less than the tears you’ve shed, less than the blood you’ve lost from having your many, many, many heads cut off over the course of time. That, in turn, forces you to think about all the possible things you could have been, or could be.

One of the purposes of taking this larger perspective is to chasten the mind so that you’re willing to come in and settle down, to be with the present moment, and do the work that needs to be done there.

This reflection by Ajaan Geoff is from the talk, Cosmic Scale, Human Scale, September 4, 2012.