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A Guide From Beyond (Happiness Part II)

Photo: Sunrise, Bald Hills, Redwoods National Park, California

 

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~Rumi

 

 

 

 

A Guide From Beyond
How To Be Happy II
A continuation from last time – How To Be Happy (Part I)

 

Last Time We Said

We said holding onto fleeting pleasures is the real cause of suffering. Because we try to avoid threats. Because we run endless scenarios in our minds, like a continuous movie theater playing non-existent stories. This suffering is made up. The very same organ that is trying to protect us is also generating our suffering.

How Do We Change?

What happens in your mind changes the physical wiring of your brain. You’ve hear neurons that fire together wire together, right? This was is called Hebbian theory introduced by Donald Hebb in 1948. The exciting thing here is that you can use your mind to make both temporary and permanent changes in the brain that bring lasting happiness. And what changes in your mind changes the brain, they are an integrated system. Therefore you can use your mind to change your brain for the better. Much better.

 

How to Build

People who have practiced deeply in the contemplative traditions are like athletes. Super athletes of the mind. The brain has evolved to help you survive but now we are finding the limitations of that strategy. We said last time that virtue, mindfulness, and wisdom are the structural supports that we can build on for meaningful growth. The path of awakening involves transforming the mind and brain by uncovering your true nature. Small positive actions everyday will keep adding up until over time you too can become one of these super mind athletes. You keep building through meditation and the practice of compassion. Wholesome changes not only make you better but are better for the world.

If you have negative thoughts, invite them in. Postive thought? Come in. Bordom, come in, make yourself comfortable. As Rumi says

“The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.”

No worries. Just build peace. In your mind. Peace by not adding suffering trying to push and pull at guest who will stop by. Invite them all.

Really Part of a Whole

Believe it or not, the person who summed it up perfectly was Einstein. He understood that we are seeing ourselves as separate from each other. And that this separation is a cause of continual problems. Here is what he said – “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” This is why mind training is so important. What we are really doing is stripping away layers of delusion so we can see reality better. Ultimately that is the kindest act we can ever do for ourselves and the planet.

Next Time

We will explore how your brain colors your experience with a tone. We will examine how this tone breaks down into pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feelings, and how these become a roadblock to your unconditional happiness.

Redwoods National Park (& Other Pics):

Sometimes, when the morning fog caresses the great trees, you can imagine the past flowing through the long, misty shadows … Vast redwood forests flourishing across a lush and humid North America … After the final ice age, a last stand here in the sustaining climate along the Pacific coast … Tree after tree falling to the loggers. Then, in a windswept moment, the past vanishes and you stand beside other visitors, gazing up at the Earth’s tallest living things. That is the essence of Redwood National and State Parks.

The park, near the northern limit of the coast redwood’s narrow range, preserves the remnants of a forest that once covered two million acres and, at the turn of the 20th century, was badly threatened by logging. The state of California and the Save-the-Redwoods League came to the rescue by acquiring hundreds of groves and protecting them within 26 state parks. Three redwood state parks—Jedediah Smith, Del Norte Coast, and Prairie Creek—were encompassed by the national park when it was created in 1968.

2 Comments

  1. Hello!

    Beautifu pictures. I Love Bobby McFerrin’s song & video and Rumi’s “The Guest House” powerful words 🙂

    We came to Earth to LIVE… yes, to LIVE with all its implications… no matter what move on live your life…

  2. Beautiful comment and video/song Julie. Thanks my good friend, Drew (and Michele)

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