Readings from Class July 2013: Presence + Acceptance = Happiness
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence on the future; not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears, but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach.”― Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“We are addicted to pleasure, in part because we confuse pleasure with happiness. We would all say that deep down, all we want is to be happy. Yet we don’t have a realistic understanding of what happiness really is. Happiness is closer to the experience of acceptance and contentment than it is to pleasure. True happiness exists as the spacious and compassionate heart’s willingness to feel whatever is present.” – Noah Levine, Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries (taken from The Buddha is Still Teaching by Jack Kornfield)
Happiness takes effort, especially as our minds will readily keep us from it. Practice is the perfect training ground for this work in presence and acceptance, which is closely tied to patience. Patience is regularly tested in practice especially as all kinds of muck gets kicked-up. The challenges are to not wish away the suffering (the funky thoughts, feelings and judgements; the “limited” range of motion; the dread or anticipation of the challenging poses to come, etc.) and to not attach to expectation or the easeful moments (the feel good stretches; the excitement of achieving a challenge pose, etc.). The more often I practice the more present and at peace I can be with my “imperfections,” challenges, etc.
May Peace and Happiness Be With You Always!