This week we are going to be exploring the fourth slogan in the Evaluating Your Training section. The traditional wording is Always Maintain Only A Joyous Mind. This slogan seems to point to the idea that we need to keep up our encouragement to practice and nothing does that like a sense of joy. We are not trying to practice out of a sense of guilt, should, have-tos or must. We practice out of a sense of joy.
We do this by maintaining a sense of humor and cheerfulness. If you are holding some kind of judgment about how good or advanced your practice is, you are just stuck in more “selfing” and ego. From the mind’s perspective, you will never measure up given that the standard bearer is Buddha. The mind, however, is a motor and has no basis for its comparison. To follow it’s pronouncements and criticism is like taking financial advice from a 3 year old; maybe share, maybe not, who knows why, but the brown coin taste better so keep that.
I think our ability to keep a cheerful spirit around practice has to do with two things. First, you really need to see the irrationality and haphazardness of the conditioned mind. As long as we think there is “someone” doing something we can continuously blame that “someone” for something. If you really understood the nature of consequential intersection of random conditions and their effect on your life, you would truly live in laughter all day. Second, you need to feel the release of suffering without you doing a thing to change your circumstances. As long as we believe that certain conditions bring about happiness, ease and joy, we will continue to strive for them. When you start to experience happiness, peace, joy, etc as a states of mind, you will never worry about how much money, stuff, praise, pleasure or the like you have in your life. You will never be without joy.
Do you think this is possible? Lets explore this a bit on Thursday.