The Dalai Lama in the “Art of Happiness” states that Happiness is within us and to the extent we ae happy is because we make the choice to be happy.
By training our mind we can choose thoughts, behaviors and habits that lead us towards happiness. Really Happiness is always there within us so essentially we move towards our understanding of Happiness.
This authentic happiness is not the kind that is dependent on someone else, Its not the happiness we attain with material success although all of that has a place in this life as well.
I want to come back to the training our mind concept.
Tara Brach (Psychologist and Meditator) shares this example in her talks : She says when you put a tea spoon of salt in a cup of water -the cup of water will get salty. Now put a teaspoon of salt in a lake and notice there is no difference.
In a calm mind, daily challenges will not alter our mood state. This is the gift of a trained mind.
By training our mind we deactivate our Limbic system (the fight/Flight response) and in a nutshell we restore our nervous system into balance. The gift is calmness and experiencing pleasure in activities we engage in.
The Limbic system is there for us to help us protect ourselves. However, all fear provoking thoughts, behaviors, feelings activate that system and creates a sense of separation from living. When people live in fear they end up separating from their source of living. Their source that keeps them connected to life. From that separation emerges, depression, fatigue, anxiety and suffering.
Choosing to train our mind is no longer a choice then is it? its a necessary way of life. After all, if given the choice we would rather feel joy, passion, creativity, love and connection to our life.
I think if the Dalai Lama says that training the mind is essential then it must be. However, he also says with his usual mischevious smile that we shouldn’t believe what others say…even if its him. He says inquire within.
For me training my mind is not a choice. Its essential.
How its done, differs for everyone.
Heres one loving kindness meditation I use. This is a budhist meditation that has been used by several practitioners. There are different versions. First you say this for yourself, then you say it for friends and family you love, You can move to neutral people in your life (like the cashier at your local grocery store), Move to people you are having difficulty with and finally to the world at large.
Change the words to fit your comfort.
May I be safe
May I have mental wellness
May I have Physical wellness
May I be at peace.
Yours in training,