This time on Heart Wisdom, Jack Kornfield reveals how Buddhist principles have the capacity to bring us happiness and joy.
Living in the Present
We begin this podcast by thinking about the first happiness that comes from a mindfulness practice: living in the present moment. As we allow ourselves the simplicity of mind to be with things as they are in the present, we live more appreciatively and joyfully. Jack has us imagine living as a child. Children are always in the moment because everything is new to them. We can learn from children in this way. An example we can test out is tasting food as if it is the first time or splashing in a puddle. Being in the moment and fully experiencing everything will renew our senses.
“We can reawaken that capacity to actually appreciate life through a training of awareness and through being somewhat disciplined in a sitting practice.” – Jack Kornfield
Uprightness of Heart (9:02)
Another source of happiness that comes from Buddhist practices is called uprightness of heart. Holding our hearts upright means acting in virtuous ways to plants, animals, people, and circumstances around us. Caring for all beings helps to bring us individual satisfaction and spreads happiness throughout the world. Jack shares a story about providing aid in a Cambodian refugee camp. He tells us how transformational it would be if we all followed Buddhist precepts and lived a life without hate.
“Hatred never ceases by hatred. Hatred only ceases by love. This is an ancient law.” – Jack Kornfield quoting the Dhammapada
Tune into Ep. 360 of Mindrolling to learn more about Bringing Down the Walls of Hatred.
Generosity brings us happiness because sharing feels good. Believe it or not, generosity is something that can be developed. At first, it may be easiest to give something away that you do not need. As you foster that sense of generosity you will naturally move into sharing what you have with others. In time, the joy will grow so much that you will give your greatest possessions away. The joy will come from witnessing happiness in others. It is simply a delight to see the delight in other people. Jack also says that generosity is a spiritual practice in letting go and non-attachment.
Check out Ep. 109 of Insight Hour to learn more about generosity as a spiritual practice: Generosity and Emptiness with Ram Dass and Raghu Markus
As we open our hearts we will witness the shadow along with the light. This is an inevitable facet of becoming aware. When we pay attention to everything in every moment, we will notice suffering right along with happiness. Jack says practicing acceptance and being able to be playful with the present is a great tool. We can exist freely in the fullness of our being when we accept the circumstances of the present. This greatly improves the quality of life.