Happiness is Up To You

Many great teachers have said” “it is only the foolish that go looking for happiness outside of themselves; the wise and leaned know that all happiness and the causes of happiness are present in ourselves, in our own mind and heart.”

What this means is that happiness is up to us. If we know how to use this mind of ours, and if we come to understand our mind and its true nature, then nothing can be more wonderful. We become the master of our own self, and our mind becomes the source of freedom. Unfortunately, if we don’t know how to use the mind, and we are dominated by our thoughts and destructive emotions, then the mind can prove to be our very worst enemy, a real nightmare.

To know that the mind is the root of everything is to realize that we are ultimately responsible for both our own happiness and our own suffering. It is in our hands.


The Most Important Thing is How Your Mind Is

As the teachings say, mind is the root of everything. It is the creator of happiness and the creator of suffering; the creator of samsara and the creator of nirvana.

In this video from Myall Lakes, Australia, Sogyal Rinpoche explains that someone who practises dharma—the teaching of the Buddha—is someone who works with the mind. Dharma is a way of transforming the mind. As the Dalai Lama often says, ‘Buddhism is about transforming the mind.’ Therefore, since the mind is the root of everything it is up to you—or more precisely—your mind.

The Joy of Simplicity

We are fragmented into so many different aspects. We don’t know who we really are, or what aspects of ourselves we should identify with or believe in.

So many contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings fight for control over our inner lives that we find ourselves scattered everywhere, in all directions, leaving nobody at home. Meditation, then, is bringing the mind home. But how do we do this? In this video from Sydney in 2008, Sogyal Rinpoche shows how simple it can be. This is the first part of a two part teaching. You can see the second part here.

If You Work With Your Mind, Happiness is Yours

Perhaps the greatest contribution the Tibetan Buddhist teachings make to the modern world is that they show us how to understand and alleviate the suffering of our mind.

When we are unable to conquer our mind, we become the victim of our own thoughts and emotions. If we have good thoughts, we think we are good; if we have bad thoughts, we think we are bad.

But when we see beyond our thoughts and understand the essence of mind, then we are the masters of our own minds. We also find the confidence and courage to face our difficulties. Mind is the root of everything; so if we work with our mind, happiness is ours.

The Secret of How to Work with Your Mind

In one moment mind can be very discursive, neurotic or argumentative, but if you know how to transform it, in the very next moment it can become peaceful and wonderfully flexible.

Mind is not so difficult if you know how to work with it; the main point is to know the secret of how to transform your mind.

Meditation on the nature of mind is a very powerful way of transforming the mind. It’s a bit like a vacuum cleaner that sucks up all your negative thoughts and emotions. Once they have been removed, your true nature is revealed, shining like the sun.

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety by Working with the Mind

The Buddha said, “All fear and anxiety comes from a mind that is untamed”, and, “There’s nothing to fear except your untamed mind.”

If you know how to transform the mind, you can transform fear and anxiety. Once you’ve done that, you can tackle any problem with greater composure, wisdom and insight.

A great Indian master once said:

'If you can do something to solve a problem, then there is no need to worry about it. But if you cannot do anything to solve a problem, then it doesn’t help to worry about it either.'

In both cases, worry is unnecessary. If you are too nervous, too anxious about your problem, then you won’t be able to do anything about it. So the main point is to work with the mind in order to become clear, to understand our emotions better and gain more control. Once mind is transformed, we no longer need to be so deeply influenced by our thoughts and emotions. We realize that our situation is not impossible. In fact, we see it is workable.

Finding Your Balance with the Sky-like Nature of Mind

What happens when you transform your mind through meditation? In an instant, mind ceases being neurotic and argumentative. It becomes totally peaceful. You’re in control, remaining in a simple way of being.

Training in meditation is like learning how to ride a bicycle. Once you know how to keep your balance on a bike, you don’t have to think about your balance any more, because the balance is in you. Likewise, once you have trained in meditation, your mind is in balance. There is a way to find that balance and go beyond thoughts into the nature of mind.

Thoughts are like clouds. Even though the clouds sometimes seem to cover the entire sky, if you take a plane you can go beyond them into a vast space that is never even touched by the clouds. The clouds of our ordinary thoughts are just temporary and changing, whilst the deeper nature of our mind is unchanging, like the infinite space of the sky.

Realizing Our Ultimate Nature

The most important point is for us to realize our ultimate nature—to purify our perception and realize the essence of our mind.

How exactly can we do this? There are three ways: through meditation, through compassion and through devotion.

As the great masters often say, the essence of all of the Buddha’s teachings is to tame or transform this mind of ours. When we transform our minds though meditation, compassion or devotion, then what is amazing is that our perception begins to transform. When our perception is transformed, then even outer appearances and circumstances begin to change.


Mind and the Nature of Mind

We usually think of our mind as just thoughts and emotions, but according to the teachings of Buddha, these make up only one aspect of the mind. The teachings tell us that the mind has two aspects: the appearance of mind, and, more important, the essence or nature of mind. The appearances of mind are like the rays of light streaming from the sun, while the very nature of mind is like the sun itself in all its glory.

The teachings tell us, rather than trying to understand each thought and emotion that arises in our mind, instead we should try to understand the nature of mind itself. When we understand the nature of mind, it is one-medicine for all ills. By knowing one thing we come to know all.