A simple algorithm to a good life
There are some simple algorithms to living a good life, things that just make sense. “Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you,” is a good example. This is a clear moral compass for humanity. “Wanting what you have,” a deep appreciation for what sort of opportunities we have been granted from our fortunes, smarts, and abilities to work hard.
The “Ordinary, Illuminated” algorithm starts with an optimization of graciousness, similar to wanting what you have, but more profoundly, at a deeper, moment-by-moment appreciation of the ordinary. Making space for the luminescence of consciousness, no matter what is happening.
Grace with the present and with others is what we hope to optimize in our examined lives, but how we obtain it is also an important part of our algorithm. We will not attain true grace and the wisdom we seek without minimizing grasping and aversion. Grasping and aversion come naturally, but take us away from grace, and require practice in mindfulness to minimize. They are opposite sides of the same coin of suffering. Grasping is an active attempt to seek something positive, while aversion is pushing away something we do not want to deal with because it is too difficult or painful. We grasp for pleasures—a new car or new clothing or the neighbor’s house—and we are adverse to suffering—buying insurance or taking care of our health by getting on the elliptical.
If we appreciate the present, really gain the gems of being consciousness, being with what is, and not grasping for transitory pleasures or being adverse to impermanent suffering; we will find grace, in our lifetimes, many times over.