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#3929- Monday, June 21, 2010 - Editor: Gloria Lee

The Nonduality Highlights


What people really want is to be fully themselves. They want the sense of aliveness, of being myself fully. But they want it through this, that, or the other. They don't realize that nothing can give it to you because you already have it. And not only do you have it, you are it, you are what you're looking for already. You don't know that because you're always looking somewhere else. You can only know that in the Now by aligning yourself with the Now and with the power that is there within you.


- Eckhart Tolle


Even the poorest thing shines...

My daily affairs are quite ordinary;
but I'm in total harmony with them.
I don't hold on to anything, don't reject anything;
nowhere an obstacle or conflict.
Who cares about wealth and honor?
Even the poorest thing shines.
My miraculous power and spiritual activity:
drawing water and carrying wood.

                - Layman P'ang (c. 740-808)


You hear a slogan like 'Always maintain only a joyful mind' and for the whole next two weeks you're just hitting yourself over the head for never being joyful. That kind of witness is a bit heavy. So lighten up. Don't make such a big deal. The key to feeling at home with your body, mind and emotions, to feeling worthy to live on this planet, comes from being able to lighten up.


When your aspiration is to lighten up, you begin to have a sense of humor. Things just keep popping your serious state of mind. In addition to a sense of humor, a basic support for a joyful mind is curiosity, paying attention, taking an interest in the world around you. You don't actually have to be happy But being curious without a heavy judgmental attitude helps. If you ARE judgmental, you can even be curious about that.

Notice everything. Appreciate everything, including the ordinary. That's how to click in with joyfulness or cheerfulness. Curiosity encourages cheering up. So does simply remembering to do something different. We are so locked into this sense of burden - Big Deal Joy and Big Deal Unhappiness - that it's sometimes helpful just to change the pattern. Anything out of the ordinary will help, and tonglen is definitely something different. This practice is about repatterning ourselves, changing the basic pattern and unpatterning ourselves altogether. You can also just go to the window and look out at the sky. You can splash cold water on your face, you can sing in the shower, you can go jogging - anything that's against your usual pattern. That's how things start to lighten up.

Sooner or later you will find yourself in a situation where you can't change the outer circumstances at all, and you realize it all comes down to how you relate to things - whether you continue to struggle against everything that's coming at you or you begin to work with things.

You hear a slogan like "Always maintain only a joyful mind" and for the next two weeks you're just hitting yourself over the head for never being joyful. That kind of witness is a bit heavy. So lighten up... in contrast, a joyful mind is very ordinary and relaxed.

From Start Where You Are : A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron, Copyright 1994, Shambhala Publications.

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