May 31, 2022
Where we place our thoughts is how we produce happiness, calm, and peace. The real trap we're all in is believing that we will be happy when_______. Think about how many times we've said this: "I'll be happy when I get my own room. I'll be happy when I can drive. I'll be happy when I can move out. I'll be happy when I can move back in. When I graduate college, I'll be happy, and when I get that great job. I'll be happy when I get married. I'll be happy when I get divorced. I'll be happy when I have kids. I'll be happy when these kids finally leave. I'll be happy when I retire." We're always pursuing something that we think will give us satisfaction we crave.
The Buddha suggested that instead of pursuing this endless cycle of searching, we learn how to make ourselves happy. Then we get to be peaceful and happy no matter the circumstances. This appears elusive to us because our minds are untamed and uncontrolled—so being happy most of the time seems crazy. Yet it is possible, and it’s not a high spiritual attainment beyond our grasp.
JoAnn Fox explains her experience of being able to train the mind enough--by watching our thoughts--to be happy most of the time. We will see our level of happiness increasing by being mindful of our thoughts and rerouting our thoughts in an appropriate direction when they go in the wrong direction. (The wrong direction being thoughts that lead us to dissatisfaction, resentment, anxiety, etc.) JoAnn explains a simple mindfulness technique that anyone can practice for these transformative results.
Just as a fortified city Is guarded inside and out,
So guard yourself—
Don’t let a moment pass you by.
Those who let the moment pass
Grieve when they’re consigned to hell. (315)
--Buddha, The Dhammapada
References and Links
Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 78 (Link)
Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy .of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma.