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

Happiness does not mean there are no problems

We often think that happiness means that there are no problems going on in our lives. However this is never going to happen for as long as we are on this earth. There are ups and downs every day and we soon see that even the best moments will never last forever. We can only do our best and come to see that some things,  and how others act, are beyond our control.  So happiness comes from viewing  our problems in a new light. The key to wisdom practice is to stay in the present moment, regardless of whether that moment is pleasant or unpleasant. Happiness is not the absence of difficulties, but comes about in the reality of the losses and change which are part of this world.

Another way, which is our practice here, is slowly to open ourselves to the wonder of what life is,  by meticulous attention to the anatomy of the present moment. Slowly, slowly we become more sophisticated and knowledgeable…in this approach everything in our life becomes grist for the mill… as this anatomy becomes clear, freedom increases.

Charlotte Joko Beck

Reduce your stress today: Flow with what is

This is a nice practice to work with, taken from Pavel Somov’s book, Present Perfect: A mindfulness approach to letting go of Perfectionism and the Need for Control. Why not try it today?

By insisting on reality being a certain way, we get stuck. To get unstuck, downgrade your expectations to preferences. Whereas an expectation is an unwarranted entitlement, a demand that reality comply with your vision of how it should be, a preference is just a wish. Instead of expecting traffic to be light, allow a passing wish for traffic to be light and then go with the flow of what is. Instead of wishing for that perfect warm weather  to go out for a walk, acknowledge your wish for the preferred weather,  then layer up and go out anyway. Instead of waiting for the perfect wind, pull up the anchor of your expectations and sail the wind that exists. Practice expecting nothing and flowing with what is.

Are we the sum of our thoughts?

We usually take ourselves to be the sum of these thoughts, ideas, emotions and body sensations, but there is nothing solid to them. How can we claim to be our thoughts or opinions or emotions or body when they never stay the same?

Jack Kornfield

Teachers often suggest considering your thoughts to be like clouds in the sky. Some are dark and stormy, some are beautiful and fat, while others are wispy and ethereal. Sometimes there are no clouds at all. No matter. Just like clouds in the sky, thoughts pass through your mind. And just like the sky, your mind can contain it all.

Susan Piver