Mental Medicine: Transforming Desire into Happiness
Weekly Insights from Meditation Classes You May Have Missed
By Joseph Giacona, Williamsburg Meditation Teacher
Normally, we associate the wonderful qualities we see in a person as if they are qualities intrinsically imbued 'within' the person. It's almost as if they were simply born wonderful & continue to be so, moment by moment, without break. We feel their very existence would make our life better. By associating the wonderful qualities we see in a person as coming from the person, we develop attachment and subsequently disempower ourselves. We take happiness, which is a state of mind, and put it 'out there' in the hands of that person and subsequently create a distance between happiness and ourselves. Now our happiness depends upon that person. That's dangerous. That person is not a source of happiness. A person, just like ourselves, experiences anxiety, depression, panic, fear, anger, has regrets and unfulfilled wishes, can often feel disappointment, and more so than not, regards themselves in a limited way i.e. they experience ups and downs and rarely enjoy stable peace and happiness. Thus, they are not a reliable source of happiness. Here, we are not denying relationships. Of course, we can enjoy their company, travel together, share laughs & good times, and even experience profound moments of connection with them etc. But what we really want is stable, lasting happiness and no person, no matter how wonderful they are, can give us that.
If the person is not a source of happiness, then where are all those wonderful qualities coming from? According to Buddha, our perception. Buddha said it is we who are creating those wonderful qualities we see in the person. Why? Not everyone agrees with our view. What we see is what we get. Whether something is attractive or not depends upon our mind, our perception of it, not the object. Often, surprisingly so, and maybe even to our dismay, we discover that not everyone agrees with our view and instead has a very different take on the same object! Buddha said, the wonderful, the lovely, the attractive, the beautiful qualities we see in an object are merely imputed/created by mind. It is OUR wonderful view and our view creates that person, for us. Once we realize this profound wisdom, that 'the wonderful is in the mind,' we can relax in the understanding that happiness is something to cultivate, not find. Then, whether we are with that person or not, in a relationship or not, we can be happy and joyful in our heart. This topic brings up many questions, which we do not have the space to entertain here, but we will certainly explore in future classes.
Buddha said it is the mind of desirous attachment that distorts our perception and creates the mistaken perception of an "intrinsically wonderful person." As Geshe Kelsang reveals in Joyful Path of Good Fortune, "Desirous attachment is a mental factor that observes its contaminated object, feels it to be attractive, exaggerates it's attractions, considers it desirable, develops desire to possess it and feels as if it has become absorbed into the object." The contamination comes from our misperception of an intrinsically desirable, source of happiness separate from our mind. There are indeed many wonderful, lovely and attractive objects and things to enjoy during our life. Enjoyment is necessary. We must enjoy ourselves as much as we can. The problem comes when we simply 'see (quite passively)' attractive things. We don't have the slightest notion that we are ACTIVELY 'creating' the attractive qualities.
This insight gives us the space and wisdom we need to begin to actually enjoy objects. We enjoy objects in a very different way, without attachment. Instead of associating the wonderful qualities with the object, we begin to associate the wonderful qualities with the mind perceiving the object; the enjoyment, the wonderful feeling is in the mind. Whether we are with the object or not we can still enjoy and be happy. Then, we can be in relationships, enjoy time with close friends, travel etc. minus the pain of grasping. We understand the wonderful qualities are inside and not outside of our mind. We don't need to search, seek, look and try to find happiness outside our heart but begin to enjoy everything in a different way - with wisdom.
Meditation for this Week
Whenever you are enjoying yourself, contemplate, "This enjoyment is in my mind; it's my perception. The pleasant feeling is 'inside' not outside my mind. Without my mind, there is no enjoyment. Not everyone enjoys this object, so the enjoyment must be in my mind." Through training in this meditation we will experience actual wisdom-based enjoyment, increasing our happiness to a level we may have yet to imagine. Will be able to enjoy things without the pain of grasping. Our mind will be relaxed, comfortable, spacious and joyful. Spring is coming, so try this meditation when you see the beautiful spring blossom. Spring lasts for a moment; if we grasp, it's painful. Instead, contemplate the beauty is in your mind. Then you can enjoy spring blossom even in winter!
The Unmistaken Dharma of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Geshe la says. . .
“All negative actions are motivated by delusions, which in turn arise from self-cherishing. First we develop the thought, “I am important,” and because of this we feel that the fulfillment of our wishes is of paramount importance. Then we desire for ourself that which appears attractive and develop attachment, we feel aversion for that which appears unattractive and develop anger, and we feel indifference toward that which appears neutral and develop ignorance. From these three delusions, all other delusions arise. Self-grasping and self-cherishing are the roots of the tree of suffering, delusions such as anger and attachment are its trunk, negative actions are its branches and the miseries and pains of samsara are its bitter fruit.” - From How to Transform Your Life (FREE E-BOOK)
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What's Happening at the Center ...
UPCOMING Saturday class &
NEW After-work meditations ...
The Confidence to Change
Letting Go of Limitation
Coming later in April ...
NEW After-Work Meditations
Wednesday & Thursday 6:30pm to 7pm
A NEW MONDAY NIGHT 12-CLASS SERIES
Meditations on Love
BRINGING JOY TO OUR RELATIONSHIPS
Social Sharegraphic(S) of the Week
Share the Dharma in Your Newsfeed
COFFEE, TEA & CHAT is slowly becoming more popular.
Here are just a few highlights from our discussion over the past couple weeks:
- We care waaaaay too much what other people think of us,
- Pinterest is the definite go-to for Vegan, Paleo etc. soup recipes,
- Buddha can appear as your deceased relative in a past-life regression ceremony,
- Amazon Alexa may cause a few unforeseen problems,
- There is a fascinating history to the traditional teaching 'throne' used at the Williamsburg meditation center (that's the wood box that Joseph or the other teachers sit on during class),
- How to interact peacefully with a rude co-worker.
Please relax & enjoy after Sunday class "surrounded by a community with similar spiritual questions and goals." - (quoting Alison F.)
Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to check in and get settled. We unfortunately cannot accommodate late arrivals because our volunteer receptionists participate in the class. The directions are below.
NOTE: Though each day covers a specific topic, each session is a stand alone lesson and can be taken in any order.
Sunday - Journey to Lasting Happiness
11:00 AM - 12:30PM
New Class Series: Monday - Meditations on Love
7:00 PM - 8:30PM
Wednesday - Freedom from Anxiety
8:00 PM - 9:30PM
Thursday - Freedom from Painful Emotions
8:00 PM - 9:30PM
New class series will be added to the schedule in the coming weeks and months.