Mingyur Rinpoche

in Book

The Joy of Living: My Favourite Notes from the Meditation Book

Book: The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness

Author: Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Favourite Notes:

  • Every kind word, every smile you offer someone who might be having a bad day, comes back to you in ways you’d never expect.
  • If I observed every thought, feeling, and sensation that passed through my mind, the illusion of a limited self would dissolve, to be replaced by a sense of awareness that is much more calm, spacious, and serene.
  • The key—the how of Buddhist practice—lies in learning to simply rest in a bare awareness of thoughts, feelings, and perceptions as they occur.
  • I were to become aware of my habitual thoughts, perceptions, and sensations, rather than being carried away by them, their power over me would begin to fade. I would experience their coming and going as nothing more than the natural function of the mind, in the same way that waves naturally ripple across the surface of a lake or ocean.
  • Simply sit up straight, breathe normally, and allow yourself to become aware of your breath coming in and going out. As you relax into simply being aware of your inhalation and exhalation, you’ll probably start to notice hundreds of thoughts passing through your mind. Some of them are easy to let go of, while others may lead you down a long avenue of related thoughts. When you find yourself chasing after a thought, simply bring yourself back to focusing on your breath.
  • Becoming mindful is a gradual process of establishing new neuronal connections and inhibiting the gossip among old ones. It requires patiently taking one small step at a time, practicing in very short intervals.
  • Walk gently and you’ll reach your goal.
  • Confusion, I was taught, is the beginning of understanding, the first stage of letting go of the neuronal gossip that used to keep you chained to very specific ideas about who you are and what you’re capable of.
  • When the mind is realized, that is the buddha.
  • The Tibetan word for meditation, gom, literally means “becoming familiar with,” and Buddhist meditation practice is really about becoming familiar with the nature of your own mind—a bit like getting to know a friend on deeper and deeper levels.
  • The only difference between meditation and ordinary social interaction is that the friend you’re gradually coming to know is yourself.
  • The only difference between meditation and the ordinary, everyday process of thinking, feeling, and sensation is the application of the simple, bare awareness that occurs when you allow your mind to rest simply as it is— without chasing after thoughts or becoming distracted by feelings or sensations.
  • Most conflicts between people stem from a misunderstanding of one another’s motives.
  • 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.
  • Many people resist the idea of meditation because the image that first comes to mind involves hours and hours of sitting ramrod straight, with legs crossed, and an absolutely blank mind. None of this is necessary.
  • There’s no way to achieve thoughtless meditation. Buddhist meditation does not in any way involve attempting to make the mind a blank. Meditation is really a process of nonjudgmental awareness.
  • Thinking is the natural activity of the mind. Meditation is not about stopping your thoughts. Meditation is simply a process of resting the mind in its natural state, which is open to and naturally aware of thoughts, emotions, and sensations as they occur. The mind is like a river, and, as with a river, there’s no point in trying to stop its flow. You may as well try to stop your heart from beating or your lungs from breathing. What purpose would that serve?
  • Meditation is so much easier than most people think: Whatever you experience, as long as you are aware of what’s going on, is meditation!
  • Meditation is a uniquely personal process, and no two people’s experiences are alike.
  • As long as you maintain awareness or mindfulness, no matter what happens when you practice, your practice is meditation
  • If you watch your thoughts, that is meditation. If you can’t watch your thoughts, that is meditation, too.
  • The essential thing is to maintain awareness, no matter what thoughts, emotions, or sensations occur. If you remember that awareness of whatever occurs is meditation, then meditation becomes much easier than you may think.
  • If you take a gradual path, your life might not change tomorrow, next week, or even a month from now. But as you look back over the course of a year or many years, you will see a difference.
  • The way I was taught, the development of loving-kindness and compassion begins with learning how to appreciate oneself.
  • Sanskrit word for “human being” is purusha, which basically means “something that possesses power.” Being human means having power; specifically, the power to accomplish whatever we want. And what we want goes back to the basic biological urge to be happy and to avoid pain.
  • Though you can practice formally at any time of day, I was taught that the best period to begin formal practice is first thing in the morning after a good night’s sleep, at which point the mind is most refreshed and relaxed, before getting involved with all the daily stuff. Taking the time to practice before you leave the house for work or to run whatever errands you have to do sets the tone for your entire day.
  • Given the busy schedules most people have nowadays, setting aside even fifteen minutes a day at the beginning for formal practice represents a substantial commitment. Whether you divide it up into three five-minute sessions or five three-minute sessions doesn’t matter.
  • Meditation is not a competition. The fifteen minutes you spend lightly in meditation practice may in the end prove much more beneficial than the hours spent by people trying too hard by practicing for longer periods of time.
  • Bringing meditation into your daily life is one of the main objectives of Buddhist practice. it’s possible to meditate anytime, anywhere.
  • You can watch your thoughts as you go through your day, rest your attention momentarily on experiences like taste, smell, form, or sound, or simply rest for a few seconds on the marvelous experience of simply being aware of the experiences going on in your mind.
  • You can practice anywhere—on the beach, at the movies, on the job, in a restaurant, on the bus or subway, or at school—as long as you remember that your intention to meditate is meditation.
  • When you bring conscious awareness to your activity, distractions and anxieties will gradually fade and your mind will become more peaceful and relaxed.
  • Enlightenment is possible only in that one way—from the inside.
  • There are two kinds of happiness: temporary and permanent. Temporary happiness is like aspirin for the mind, providing a few hours of relief from emotional pain. Permanent happiness comes from treating the underlying causes of suffering.
  • Genetically, it appears that human beings are programmed to seek temporary states of happiness rather than lasting traits. Eating, drinking, making love, and other activities release hormones that produce physical and psychological sensations of well-being. By releasing these hormones, survival-based activities play an important role in ensuring that we survive as individuals, and that the genes we carry are passed on to future generations.
  • We live in an interdependent world. If you want to improve the condition of your own life, then you need to depend on others to help you along the way.
  • When you deal with others in a compassionate, empathetic way, you can only improve the conditions of your own life.
  • Great benefit of developing compassion is that through understanding the needs, fears, and desires of others, you develop a deeper capacity to understand your own self—what you hope for, what you hope to avoid, and the truth about your own nature.
  • Everything you think, everything you say, and everything you do is reflected back to you as your own experience.
  • The first few months are always difficult. It’s hard to learn all the skills you need to master a job; it’s hard to motivate yourself to exercise; it’s hard to eat healthfully every day. But after a while the difficulties subside, you start to feel a sense of pleasure or accomplishment, and your entire sense of self begins to change.

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