Tag Archives: joy

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Khalil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.” But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

— Khalil Gibran – Joy and Sorrow (excerpt) – The Prophet

(image source: wikipedia)

Joy and Sorrow are inseparable

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Rabindranath Tagore

The ‘I’ that floats along the wave of time,
From a distance I watch him.
With the dust and the water,
With the fruit and the flower,
With the All he is rushing forward.
He is always on the surface,
Tossed by the waves and dancing to the rhythm
Of joy and suffering.
The least loss makes him suffer,
The least wound hurts him–
Him I see from afar.
That ‘I’ is not my real self;
I am still within myself,
I do not float in the stream of death.
I am free, I am desireless,
I am peace, I am illumined–
Him I see from afar.

— Rabindranath Tagore – The Later Poems

(Imagesource: Famous Poets and Poems)

From Afar

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Do not live in the world,
In distraction and false dreams.
Outside the dharma.

Arise and watch.
Follow the way joyfully
Through this world and beyond.

Follow the way of virtue.
Follow the way joyfully
Through this world and on beyond!

For consider the world –
A bubble, a mirage.
See the world as it is,
And death shall overlook you.

Come, consider the world,
A painted chariot for kings,
A trap for fools.
But he who sees goes free.

As the moon slips from behind a cloud And shines,
So the master comes out from behind his ignorance And shines.

The world is in darkness.
How few have eyes to see!
How few the birds
Who escape the net and fly to heaven!
Swans rise and fly toward the sun.
What magic!
So do the pure conquer the armies of illusion
And rise and fly.

If you scoff at heaven
And violate the dharma,
If your words are lies,
Where will your mischief end?

The fool laughs at generosity.
The miser cannot enter heaven.
But the master finds joy in giving
And happiness is his reward.

And more – For greater than all the joys
Of heaven and earth,
Greater still and than dominion
Over all the worlds,
Is the joy of reaching the stream.

— Siddharta Gautama (The Buddha) – Dhammapada

The World

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The world does not yield to changing. By its very nature it is painful and transient. See it as it is and divest yourself of all desire and fear. When the world does not hold and bind you, it becomes an abode of joy and beauty. You can be happy in the world only when you are free of it.

— Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – I am That – p. 504

Nobody will succeed in changing the world

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We cannot exist without depending on others. When I go to the grocery store and buy an apple, I might feel very independent. I walk in, grab an apple, pay with my own money, and go home to eat it by myself. But in fact I can only enjoy this apple because it is connected to so many people and conditions: the store owner, the shelf stockers, the truckers, the farmers, all the way back to the seed and the Earth. There’s so much connection, all the time.

Of all of the relationships we have in this interdependent experience of ours, the most direct, most emotional, and most apt to bring great joy and suffering is a close, intimate relationship with another human being. We give it great, special prominence in our mind, but it helps to remember that it is the same as the apple. It’s about interconnection, interdependence.

Relationship is a great mirror. It is the mirror in which we see ourselves, in which we discover ourselves. That mirror can be distorted. I remember the first time I saw myself in a funhouse mirror: “Oh, what happened to me? I’m all stretched out.” The mirror can also be very clear. We can see ourselves and what we are up to so directly. That makes relationship a beautiful experience.

When we sit by ourselves, it’s easy to enjoy our mental games, fantasies, ego trips, and so forth. We can go on and on and on without any problem. But try that with your partner! Then here comes the mirror. The mirror will reflect and show you your ugly ego trips. A mirror is very neutral—it just reflects. It doesn’t take any sides. It is just a mirror for both of us.

In this mirror, we discover ourselves—our tendencies, our weaknesses, and our strengths. We discover our good qualities as well as our negative qualities. This mirror becomes a very precious teacher for us, a very precious path. The mirror of relationship becomes a very precious teaching for us to discover who we really are, and where we are on the path and in the world altogether.

This is a lot to take in, so our tendency is to see what we want to see in this relationship mirror. The problem with this approach is that two people in a close relationship can see two different things. If I want to see something and she wants to see something else, we’re both seeing two different things. As a result, we’re being thrown off from the balance, the benefit, the preciousness of the relationship, the mirror. We would rather idealize our relationship; we would rather escape. We would rather live in the future than in this very immediate present moment. But if we can practice being in this present moment, relationship becomes a path and the mirror a great teacher.

In our relationship with another, we often misunderstand how we are connected. We may think we are two made into one, or we may think we are completely independent. My father taught me that a marriage or partnership, an intimate relationship with another human being, is like two rings coming together. You can illustrate it with your fingers. Make a ring with each hand, then join the rings together. There’s a common space in the center. There is mutual responsibility, joy, and sharing, yet at the same time we must understand there are also the two sides. There is not only the middle. Individual space is also necessary, and if we try to overlap these two rings totally, we lose balance.

There is a common bond, but there are also two individual mind streams. We must respect that and allow the other independence. The common space respects the individual space. We cannot overpower the other or make them just like us. The other not only has needs but also individual habits that you cannot change. They need to initiate change themselves; you cannot forcibly change them.

That’s the basic principle in a relationship—we share. We share our wisdom, our knowledge, we allow ourselves to be a mirror, but it’s up to the individual to make the choice. We must respect that. We must know that the other acts out of habit pattern, just as we do. Just as we cannot be forcibly changed from the outside, so too with them.

Problems begin when we lose the balance that comes from understanding the interplay of connection and separateness. We lose the sense of mindfulness when we lose the basic balance of the selfless, egoless teaching, and become selfish, ego-centered, or even ego-maniacal.

That’s where suffering begins and joy ends, where the joy of relationship ends and the suffering of relationship begins. When a relationship is troubling, that will stimulate our path. We can’t expect it always to be perfect. In the mirror of relationship, we discover all these things. We discover the real nature of relationship and we discover how we go off balance, how we lose the egoless, selfless view, how we lose the sense of love and caring.

Practicing mindfulness and awareness can help us see in the mirror more clearly. Mindfulness can tame the mental wildness that causes us to go so off balance. Mindfulness puts the wild mind in a corral. Once the wild horse of our mind is a little settled, we can train it by tying it to the post of awareness. Then we can train the horse to do all sorts of things, including to exert itself on the path of relationship and take joy and delight in loving.

— Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche – Right Here With You: Bringing Mindful Awareness Into Our Relationships

The Great Mirror of Relationship

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We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.

 

And yet it is still just as naïve to suppose that members of the same human species, without having changed anything but their minds, should suddenly turn around and produce a perfect society, when they have never been able, in the past, to produce anything but imperfection and, at best, the barest shadow of justice.

 

I had at last become a true child of the modern world, completely tangled up in petty and useless concerns with myself, and almost incapable of even considering or understand anything that was really important to my own true interests.

 

What a strange thing! In filling myself, I had emptied myself. In grasping things, I had lost everything. In devouring pleasures and joys, I had found distress and anguish and fear.

— Thomas Merton – Several Quotes from “The Seven Storey Mountain

Slavery

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This is the work of those who are skilled and peaceful, who seek the good:

May they be able and upright, straightforward, of gentle speech and not proud.
May they be content and easily supported, unburdened, with their senses calmed.
May they be wise, not arrogant and without desire for the possessions of others.
May they do nothing mean or that the wise would reprove.

May all beings be happy.
May they live in safety and joy.

All living beings, whether weak or strong, tall, stout, average or short, seen or unseen, near or distant, born or to be born, may they all be happy.

Let no one deceive another or deceive any being in any state, let none by anger or hatred wish harm to another.

As a mother watches over her child, willing to risk her own life to protect her only child, so with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings, suffusing the whole world with unobstructed loving kindness.

Standing or walking, sitting or lying down, during all one’s waking hours, may one remain mindful of this heart and this way of living that is the best in the world.

Unattached to speculations, views and sense desires, with clear vision, such a person will never be reborn in the cycles of suffering.

— Siddharta Gautama (The Buddha) – Teachings of the Buddha (Jack Kornfield – translation by Gil Fronsdal)

Metta Sutta