In Lojong Teachings, it is taught that we often cause our own suffering by not observing the nature of our minds and our thoughts. The true nature of our mind is always changing, always telling stories and many people think that they are their thoughts. We can remain as an observer of our mind and our thoughts without getting caught up in the stories that our mind tells. We all have upwards of 60,000 thoughts per day. Many of our thoughts are repetitive and negative. By just observing all of this that is going on, we get less caught up or "hooked" into all of the stories that the mind plays. If we are not careful, it can really get us hooked in and cause us to act upon things that we may later regret. If you choose to meditate or breathe regularly throughout the day, this can help to center you and lessen your attachment to your thoughts that you are noticing. This practice of breathing or meditating causes space between our thoughts and stillness which gives us better clarity allowing us to make decisions and choices that are true to ourselves from a place of knowing, not from thinking or overthinking. You will not get swept away by your emotions and your awareness increases.
Some general principles that help guide us in keeping a joyful spirit are:
Build others and yourself up. Talking to your inner critic or the voice that can sometimes be negative to you and others in a way to reframe your situation. By reassuring yourself and others, you are sending positive energy and effects in the universe. This has a circular effect in the end.
Remain humble. Humility helps you to have compassion for yourself and others. This leads to making you a stronger person when you understand the nature of our lives.
Understand that your greatest obstacles stem from the ego. Allowing pride, aggression, anger, self-denigration to take over your soul are not helpful. These are areas to continue to work on.
Stay present. Many people waste their entire lives worrying about the past or the future. They feel they need to achieve certain things to be happy. Enjoy wherever you are right now.
Refrain from talking about other's weaknesses. Understanding that when we gossip or malign someone else , we are trying to raise ourselves up. This comes from a place of ego or self-centeredness. It only poisons you and your spirit. You will not have a joyful mind doing this type of behavior.
It also poisons you to hold grudges, speak badly of others, let someone have it when they are weak and humiliate others. This sows seeds of meanness in your heart.
When you are doing something good, have the attitude of wanting it to directly or indirectly benefit others. Hope that it will increase the experience of kinship with others.
In keeping a joyful mind:
Remember to seek to help others.
Awaken compassion and lessen selfishness.
I wish all of you to feel much joy!!
Reference: Pema Chodron- Always Maintaining a Joyful Mind
Colleen Montgomery, LCPC is located at 821 W Benfield Rd, Severna Park, MD 21146. Sacred Cove Counseling is located inside the Ben Oaks Professional Center.