Part 2: Contentment day course, Sydney

This morming we spoke about the need to train the mind of discontent. It is impossible to satisfy the desires of the craving mind as it is a bottomless pit! The mind is flooded with negative thoughts and insatiable desires.

Discontent is an aspect of attachment. When we are able to control our attachment we realise that external objects cannot satiate us we must DIRECTLY OPPOSE ATTACHMENT by training in non-attachment.

I have to look within and note that it is not non-attachment but CORRECT VIEW. Contentment is an aspect of non-attachment. A mind being satisfied with our inner and outer conditions motivated by virtuous intentions.

 “Being happy whatever happens” Geshe-La.

Happiness comes from within. Contentment is a decision. Not I will be content when I achieve ….

Don’t be passive, happiness is not going to fall in your lap; it is a state of mind. You have to develop it internally; we don’t have it naturally. We haveto decide to be content.

We must meditate on the feeling of acceptance for eg to transform your mind into contentment. Happiness is not to be found in a set of external circumstances.

  • Decide I AM CONTENT.
  • What I have is enough.
  • I will not desperately seek for external pleasures.

Think “What I have is enough” to oppose the mind of desire. There are valid reasons to change your job  for a better one for eg to have more time to spend with cherished people, kids etc NOT to make changes for (perceived) improvement or because we need to improve prospects or to achieve more. We make changes externally of there is a genuine reason to do so! Not to get MORE happiness due to external changes we make.

The mind of contentment is

  • free from wanting and craving
  • not concerned with externals
  • not vulnerable to frustration

When you are trying to control your mind you are not vulnerable to desire. Control your mind and your power is back.  You are satisfied with what you have each day. Inner wealth is best of all possessions. Inner wealth is not boring, it is a blissful mind.

Things WILL go wrong if we are passive, wanting for stuff to settle, to go to plan, for people to settle for eg for kids to settle in good jobs etc You will never start living if oyu wait for all and everyone to settle! You think happiness round the corner…. but there is an endless list of discontent … soon, soon I will be happy…

How do we  hold a mind of contentment?

Conditions that are not ideal will keep arising. If contentment came from external conditions people in the West would be happy compared to people in the East! Most people in the West live in clean, rich, beautiful surroundings and have more freedom when compared to India/Tibet people but have more discontent and mental suffering! People in the West have less internally. We have no understanding of science of happiness. Our civilisation is based on materialism. Happiness depends on developing the mind. Our focus at the moment is not working individually and as a society to give us happiness.

If we have inner wealth we don’t feel so attached to external objects eg in a clothes shop you see beautiful clothes but not pulled to buy more than you need! Good for mental freedom, bank account etc  We have a smoother life. we appreciate beautiful objects but not attracted like a moth to a flame to burn; appreciate beauty from afar! How many times has attachment driven us into a flame? e.g. a fling? attraction to a person we focus on that person and exaggerate their good qualities … denial… like a moth to candle flame through lack of clarity. We dive into the flame and are unfaithful and destroy relationships and families as not everyone can forgive transgression. Appreciate beauty from afar! Do not exchange a perceived “poor” condition for short term contaminated pleasure to end up in a worse one!

With a mind of contentment we obtain external objects with realistic expectations – life is simpler! We don’t need to buy, go places, improve etc just for the sake of it just because we feel discontent within ourselves expecially living in hedonistic Sydney; a pleasure garden, full of beautiful objects, beautiful people, a fixation with propertry etc

We do appreciate a beautiful home for eg but we do not believe that living there creates happiness e.g. a Sydney real estate agent working in one of the most prestigious and rich suburbs of Sydney told me his clients are usually grumpy unhappy people!

Don’t be compelled to jump in the flame. When we are motivated to act by desire this will bring suffering. Desirous attachment is the worst delusion; when you follow it, it is a distorted, incorrect mind and  things go wrong; you get frustrated and exhausted.

Contentment avoids filling lives with stuff; we know stuff won’t fulfill me.
Whilst doing menial tasks for eg. if your mind is mixed with contentment you can feel happy! Instead of wanting to be somewhere else. Nothing is boring; we can change everything into an act of giving, to transform mundane and menial tasks into something beautiful; with a mind of contentment you are activating happiness within ANYWHERE!

How to get this mind? Through meditation by acquainting the mind with virtuous objects. Initially we reduce conceptuality to remove impure thoughts then in that spaciousness we cultivate virtuous minds eg the mind of contentment, non-attachment, love, compassion, patience, giving, concentration, faith, moral discipline, effort.

Through meditation we familiarise the mind and transform the mind into contentment. I am satisfied with what I have, I don’t need extra things. Talk yourself into it.

We contemplate say for e.g. for 10 mins a day for e.g. the faults of discontent, the reasons why we must  abandon discontent; we gradually cultivate a determination to abandon the mind of discontent. Then for the last 5 mins  we stop the contemplation and we bring the virtuous object to mind;  when we find the virtuous object we keep it in mind and stay with the feeling of contentment: I am satisfied with my inner and outer conditions. Your mind BECOMES contentment.  Your mind is balanced and positive.

To be happy in a relationship you have to change your mind. You have to TRAIN in contentment. Marriages break up becasue people do not take responsibility to train. Our human minds do not make it easy for us! You need this, I want that etc

Transform your habits. Build new pathways in your mind like forging a new path through the forrest to the sea. Meditation creates new habits but it is not easy at first as the groove of discontent is deep. So making a new groove is not easy. As you meditate you create pathways on a neurological level by concentrating on virtuous objects. Meditating calms the mind and stillness can be developed.

The more you enjoy the internal sources of happiness the more you feel fulfilledd and content and satiated. You feel good and desirable shiny objects don’t have a hold on you. You will discover a beautiful mind within. The more you let go of attachment to external stuff the more freedom you start feeling and also joy from positive minds. Acquire real test of Dharma instead of meaningless pleasures.

I CAN be content by controlling my mind and the rest will fall into place! Everything becomes better when you apporach your day with a mind of contentment.

You don’t get excited e.g.stalking a new partner, sending 100s of texts a day. In reality if we can be content you can be with anyone! We see beauty in everyone not in just a ‘soul-mate’ and we  don’t have unrealistic expectations. I have capacity to love many people and am not focussed on 1 person. Marriage is a practice of contentment. Resist changes for the sake of changes. Not because other people expect me to (pressure from society to achieve more, have more and more money etc)  e.g. ambition can be a very ugly mind. We should value our achievement of inner peace. Don’t buy into things e.g. big wedding, advancing career prospects, bigger house, whatever society ‘expects’!

Practice contentment and set an example, show you are happy with your conditions instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses – this is madness! You get strength in being part of a spiriutal community. Don’t get more stress for eg if you are making a good living with 1 shop and you are apporached by a businessman to invest and grow to 3 shops don’t give in just to change, when you have enough – you will have more money, but more stress and less time. It is important to know when to stop! e.g. plastic surgery, surfing the internet, eating. Self-control – dosesn’t sound attractive but life is more enjoyable by exercising control over haibits;. LIFE IS SIMPLER. Enough shopping,enough eating etc

If you do not sit to meditate, meditate at the traffic lights,, in a waiting room for eg while you are going about your day, think about contentment. Peace for yourselves and set example to others.

 

 

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Priceless advice for meditators on Concentration followed by a guided breathing meditation

We usually consider distractions to be harmless sideshows, interesting entertainments going on in the periphery of our meditation practice designed specifically to alleviate the boredom of meditating on a virtuous object !! Actually they are far from harmless; they are lethal enemies of concentration, they rob us of the special feelings, special insights, special experience and realisations that we are trying so hard to attain in our spiritual path, in our spiritual life. They are thieves that rob the Dharma jewels we are trying so hard to accomplish, so hard to acquire.

 

In “Understanding the Mind”, Geshe-La gives us scathing indictment of distraction when he says that distraction is the worst enemy to spiritual development.  And why? Because it causes our mind to wander to the objects of delusion which are the principle objects of abandonment in our spiritual life. distractions are also the first step in the process of forgetting our object and distractions destroy the 4 qualities of pure concentration, they destroy the lucidity of our mind by creating turbulence and agitation in our mind by making our mind negative and confused as a result the clarity of our mind decreases and the intensity of mindfulness becomes split  between our object of meditation and the distraction itself and our mind becomes multi-pointed instead of single pointed. so in these ways distractions completely destroy the 4 qualities of pure concentration

Modern Budhhism book – download for free!

http://www.emodernbuddhism.com/

Meditation on the Subtle Mind