The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called “Take Control of Your Life”
To cultivate a joyful mind, we should cultivate virtuous habits. We are happiest when we are busy creating merit. We don’t realize this because the words are so dry. We think cocktail. I like that word! Merit? Ugh. Happy Hour? That sounds good! Practice? Ugh. That’s our ordinary thinking that we have to dispel because it’s wrong. It’s wrong. Cocktail means ‘poison’. It means drunk. It means alcoholic. It’s never been good for you and it never will be. It’s an unfortunate addition to your body, when you can do without. Merit, on the other hand… To practice merit and joyfully meritorious behavior, to soothe the mind rather than constantly inflame it with all your manic stuff, and to be a stimulation junky… That’s what we are. Stimulation junkies. It’s like psychological sugar. We can’t get enough of it. “Gimme something! Anything!” That how we are psychologically. And yet the mind is happiest when it’s relaxed, quietly joyful, mellowed out, thinking of the benefit of others, not absorbed in what I don’t have, what I want or what I think I got to get!
It turns out that what the Buddha said is true. The life of meditation and mysticism and loving regard for others—a life of service, a life planned to benefit others, a life in Dharma, Dharma so alive and so much a part of one’s mind that it is moist and sweet from the holy breath of the Dakinis… That is a life of joyfulness.
In a relaxed mind, colors are brighter. Did you know that? People who are locked in to their own personal phenomena, their own personal crazy phenomena, can’t see colors well. They think they can. They look and say, “Oh, I see red, you see red. What’s the difference?” But one red is different than the other. A peaceful mind can smell better. All the senses are purified and more alive, even though, because we are not yet enlightened they may still do the work of duality. Yet slowly slowly, we are training them in our practice. And so the mind becomes more relaxed. The mind becomes actually sensitized to quiet luminous joy—a state of restful luminosity that could be described as the very dance of bliss. This is the relaxed mind, the virtuous mind.
Yet we cultivate these habits that keep us raw and inflamed. I look at the expression on people’s faces. They’re all scrunched up because of all that inflammation, all that horrible feeling. When we suffer we say, “I feel so raw”. No kidding. That self-absorption, that constant selfishness and non-virtue and inflammation… It would be like taking Brillo and just constantly rubbing it on one’s skin.
And yet the joyful virtuous mind actually is more like putting a soothing balm on this same skin and allowing it to heal. This is the reason for happiness. This is the way for happiness. This is the method for happiness. Each and every one of us experiences unhappiness due to our previous non-virtuous habits. When we switch tracks, we begin to pave the way and to move on the journey towards personal happiness, happiness for all beings which is our highest priority, and towards making the world a better place, literally.
Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved