Finding Our Happiness

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Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday, we will recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings and discuss our relationship to and understanding of the second training.

In the second training, we commit to practice generosity, to refrain from stealing, to share our time, to look deeply, and to practice Right Livelihood. What do all of these things have in common? Among other things, they all call on us to set our intention, to recalibrate the inner moral compass that guides our thoughts, speech, and action in each moment. According to the trainings, by deciding that we will see others’ happiness and suffering as no different from our own, that we will live with an open heart, and that we will not live guided by unwholesome desires, we will find true happiness in the present moment regardless of our circumstances.

This training resonates with me, and my experience suggests it’s true. Yet, I often find myself straying at the most personal level from its suggestions. When I feel criticised, hurt, or anxious, the first thing I do is to shut down and close my heart. This turning inward isolates me from others, which can become a self-reinforcing wall around my heart. Luckily, the smallest moment of generosity, connection with others, or understanding that my suffering is not mine alone can bring about a sudden sense of ease and clearer understanding. For me, trying to follow the second training helps create the conditions for uncovering my own innate happiness and open heart, even in the midst of sadness and difficult times, and from that place allows me to bring my own true generosity to those around me and my environment.

This Thursday, we will recite the trainings and share whether this training resonates for us. What about it is consistent with our experience? What supports us in understanding and being diligent in the practice? What distracts us or derails us from practicing the precepts? What is true happiness for you, or what would you like it to be?

I hope you can join us to share your experience or simply share your presence.

Scott Schang

Thursday evening practitioners please note: If you arrive after 7:05 pm, the door to Crossings may be locked. If it is locked, someone will come out to open it at 7:30, then again at 7:50.

Second Mindfulness Training: True Happiness
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.