A short time ago I was privileged to attend a public talk by Sogyal Rinpoche. The topic was “Getting to Know Your Own Mind: the Key to Peace & Happiness”. My regular readers will know that this has been a focus of mine for some time now and already being familiar with Buddhism and meditation I was excited to hear Sogyal’s thoughts on this popular subject.
Sogyal is a world renowned Buddhist teacher from Tibet. He’s also the author of the highly acclaimed “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”. Sogyal is recognised as the incarnation of a great master and visionary saint in the Buddhist community so he’s kind of a big deal. Interestingly he has studied comparative religion at Cambridge and alongside great Buddhist masters including the Dalai Lama himself. Sogyal presents the principals of Buddhism in a manner that’s both profound and relevant to the modern world. His teachings seem to resonate with people of all backgrounds.
Sogyal was a delightful, entertaining, and engaging speaker well versed on the subject. I was impressed at the astonishingly simple and practical heart of his teachings which included:
• Our suffering (unhappiness amongst other things) arises from ignorance, negative emotions, and actions.
• Focusing on others creates happiness and wealth. Focusing on the self has the opposite effect. Therefore focus on others and your well-being and happiness will result.
• Mind + heart. Listen to your heart and mind.
• Through the mind we create samsara (suffering) and nirvana. Therefore happiness is up to you as is suffering.
• Our desires create suffering.
• Cultivate patience not just compassion.
• Transform your mind and change your perception in order to see things clearly. Empty your mind of concepts.
• Don’t project, accept.
• “We are what we think. With our thoughts we make the world.”
• Speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow and vice versa.
• Don’t take thoughts to seriously.
• Don’t allow thoughts to solidify, or take hold.
• Sense of humour is key. This is to find a space where there is none, see the funny side of things, and remember life is ridiculous, to be taken seriously but not!
• Anger is OK, don’t possess it though or allow an imprint to develop in the mind.
• Be spontaneous and free, don’t get stuck. But never impulsive. There is a difference.
• BE: Alert. Aware. Present. Mindful. Awake. Flexible.
• Once you work with the mind it becomes pliable. Meditation is challenging at first but becomes easier with practice.
• “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
• Meditation is key. The purpose of meditation is to stabilise and calm the mind. Meditation helps your brain cultivate and form positive emotions. Science has proven the benefits.
• Spiritual communities need to unite in order to address the world’s issues.
• There are 2 aspects to our minds, thoughts + emotions & essence of mind.
• Samsara (suffering) is the longing to be happy yet with ignorance present that ultimately destroys our own happiness making us our own worst enemy. What kind of mind creates samsara? One lost in thoughts, emotions, stories, projections. Ultimately a mind turned outwards. Don’t become the victim of thoughts and emotions. Turn your focus inwards.
• Be Spacious.
• Practice altruism and compassion. Develop confidence. Diffuse negativity.
• Speed and aggression are causing major issues in the modern word. This approach actually slows you down.
• Slowly slowly. Fast! Make haste slowly. Accomplish more effortlessly!
• Profound peace is found when we are free of complexity.
There it is people. Simple and straight forward really. No need to overcomplicate the issue it seems.
What do you think is the key to peace and happiness?