Ultimately, happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them.
In parting, I would like to give you one small piece of advice to keep in your heart. You may have heard me say this before, but it is the key point of the entire path, so it bears repeating: All that we are looking for in life — all the happiness, contentment, and peace of mind — is right here in the present moment. Our very own awareness is itself fundamentally pure and good. The only problem is that we get so caught up in the ups and downs of life that we don’t take the time to pause and notice what we already have.
If you’re determined to think of yourself as limited, fearful, vulnerable, or scarred by past experience, know only that you have chosen to do so. The opportunity to experience yourself differently is always available.
If we could see the whole truth of any situation, our only response would be one of compassion.
Meditation is really quite simple. All we have to do is embrace each experience with awareness and open our hearts fully to the present moment. When we are completely at ease with our own being, the ripples of awareness naturally spread out in all directions, touching the lives of everyone we meet.
All that we are looking for in life – all the happiness, contentment, and peace of mind – is right here in the present moment.
Simply notice that you’re aware. At any given moment, you can choose to follow the chain of thoughts, emotions, and sensations that reinforce a perception of yourself as vulnerable and limited, or to remember that your true nature is pure, unconditioned, and incapable of being harmed.
If you don’t try to stop whatever is going on in your mind, but merely observe it, eventually you’ll begin to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation, a vast sense of openness within your mind – which is in fact your natural mind, the naturally unperturbed background against which various thoughts come and go.
Happiness and unhappiness are not primarily created by the material world or the physical body. First and foremost, they are decisions of the mind.
When you transform your mind, everything you experience is transformed.
Meditation is actually a very simple exercise in resting in the natural state of your present mind, and allowing yourself to be simply and clearly present to whatever thoughts, sensations, or emotions occur.
When we become fixed in our perceptions we lose our ability to fly.
The mind is the source of all experience, and by changing the direction of the mind, we can change the quality of everything we experience.
So overall, though my life is far from perfect, I’m contented with it. And in a peculiar way, I’m grateful for the troubling emotions I experienced. The obstacles we face in life can provide powerful incentives for change.
Compassion is the spontaneous wisdom of the heart. It’s always with us. It always has been, and always will be. When it arises in us, we’ve simply learned to see how strong and safe we really are.
There’s no difference between what is seen and the mind that sees it.
The opportunity to experience yourself differently is always available.
You don’t want to block your thoughts, emotions, and so on; nor do you want to chase after them. If you chase after them, if you let them lead you, they begin to define you, and you lose your ability to respond openly and spontaneously in the present moment. On the other hand, if you attempt to block your thoughts, your mind can become quite tight and small.
Within our perceived weaknesses and imperfections lies the key to realizing our true strength.
Being human means having power; specifically, the power to accomplish whatever we want.
Any attempt to capture the direct experience of the nature of mind in words is impossible. The best that can be said is that it is immeasurably peaceful and, once stabilized through repeated experience, virtually unshakable. It’s an experience of absolute well-being that radiates through all physical, emotional and mental states-even those that might ordinarily be labeled as unpleasant.
Compassion is the spontaneous wisdom of the heart.
The expectations you bring to meditation practice are often the greatest obstacles you will encounter.
We’re all buddhas. We just don’t recognize it.
It’s so easy to think that we’re the only ones who suffer, while other people are somehow immune to pain, as though they’d been born with some kind of special knowledge about being happy, that, through some cosmic accident, we never received. Thinking in this way, we make our own problems seem much bigger than they really are.