zen habits : breathe

One Simple Principle to Live By: Purity

“There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.” – Buddha

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Daniel Scocco of Daily Blog Tips.

Today I was having an argument with my girlfriend about her watching Big Brother. Basically I was trying to discourage her from watching it. I gave her many reasons not to. It is a waste of time, it is petty, it promotes vanity. In other words, it is the panis et circenses of our days. I don’t think there is a coincidence in the fact that most people that watch Big Brother don’t know the works of George Orwell in the first place…

Anyway, after about an hour of sermon she told me she would try to stop. Thinking about the whole discussion, though, I realized that I could have summarized it in a better way: Big Brother is not something pure.

If you search in the dictionary, pure refers to things that are free of dirt or pollution, that have a uniform composition, that are complete and sinless.

The interesting thing is that this concept can be extended to virtually any field or endeavor. There are pure movies and impure movies. There is pure talk and impure talk. There are pure people and impure people.

Apply the principle of purity to your life and it will become much easier to decide the things you should be doing and the ones you shouldn’t.

Sitting in front of the television watching soap operas or reality shows is impure. It will not make you grow as a human being. It will not make you more conscious. Sometimes, in fact, it will do exactly the opposite.

Have time to spare? Learn a foreign language. Spend some time with friends and family. Read a classic book. Learn how to play an instrument. Practice a sport. These are pure things.

Not convinced that this principle applies to virtually anything? Think about your job. You could always step on other people to rise and make more money. You could always put honesty and integrity aside and do whatever it takes to gain more power.

Is such attitude pure? Would this be worth it? I don’t think so.

In the end it will be only you and a mirror, and usually only pure images get reflected.

Purity of mind and idleness are incompatible. – Mahatma Gandhi

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