Developing a more cheerful mind

Cheerfulness comes naturally with meditation. It is a quality of space created within the mind. When there’s space in the mind, the mind relaxes, and we feel a simple sense of delight. We experience the possibility of living a life in which we aren’t continuously bombarded by emotions, discursiveness and concepts about the nature of things. Lack of genuine cheerfulness is a result of claustrophobia in our mind and heart. There is simply too much going on; we feel overwhelmed and speedy. We were somehow under the impression that life was meant to be happy, and now we’re getting the short end of the stick. The harder we try to contort reality into our fantasy of happiness, the less happy we are, and the more chaotic our mind seems.

We can depend on random experiences to remind us of these truths, or we can go about it in a systematic way by engaging in a daily meditation practice. When we practice meditation, we are encouraging this natural state of cheerfulness. We don’t have to regard meditating as a somber activity; we can think of it as sitting there and being cheerful. We are using a technique to build clarity, strength and flexibility of mind. In training our mind in pliability and power, we’re learning to relax, to loosen up, so that we can change our attitude on a dime.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

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