The Delighted Mind is Buoyant

Sylvia's Blog Happy Mind.jpeg

I have been thinking about the ways in which how I teach what the Buddha taught has evolved over these past decades from emphasizing the “ending suffering” aspect of practice to “creating happiness.” The change has been happening slowly. It was only this morning, teaching at Spirit Rock, that I stopped myself in the middle of a sentence and said, “Wow! I’ve never said that quite in the same way before.” All of a sudden, my understanding of Wise Effort, the Buddha’s instructions to redirect the attention from a developing afflictive state (an annoyance turning into an anger turning into a rage) to a wholesome state (patience or compassion) became more complete. I’ve always taught about developing enough mindfulness to detect the arising of suffering. Indeed, using mindful attention to “head off” an afflictive state before it becomes overwhelming lessons the habitual tendency in the mind to give in to anger. More than that, though, awareness of one’s growing ability to defuse suffering before it arises is cause for exultation. “Hey, I just did that! I almost fell into confusion, but I didn’t!” The delighted mind is buoyant. An appreciative Joy blessing at that point might be, “May I continue to have a buoyant mind, one that is free to be happy.”