When Ron and Shira and I were driving home from the river tonight, we were able to listen to the last part of On Being. Tonight's conversation was with Krista Tippett and Matthieu Ricard (https://onbeing.org/programs/matthieu-ricard-happiness-as-human-flourishing/). It was excellent. And touched my heart and inspired me to do this post... May we all seek and find those teachers who help us awaken and remember what we have forgotten. For me, this is a lifelong sacred process of remembrance, integration, and mindfully cultivating wisdom and compassion ever more deeply into the way I live my life. Just imagine a world where a spiritual evolution unfolded across our Earth Mother in which countless human beings committed to this work of deepening in wisdom and compassion. Just imagine. I do. - Molly
It Is Not the Magnitude of the Task That Matters,
It's the Magnitude of Our Courage
The Wisdom of Matthieu Ricard
Wisdom and compassion should become the dominating influences that guide our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
One is not born wise; one becomes it.
Empathy is the faculty to resonate with the feelings of others. When we meet someone who is joyful, we smile. When we witness someone in pain, we suffer in resonance with his or her suffering.
If contemplation of other people's pain just increases distress, then I think we should see it in another way. If we don't center too much on ourselves, then [we] increase our courage and our determination to remedy the pain, not our distress. If we have unconditional compassion, then it increases our courage. So that's the difference, self-centered motivation versus altruistic motivation.
There is definitely openness to others' suffering that is dealt not with distress but with compassion.
Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things.
I have also come to understand that although some people are naturally happier than others, their happiness is still vulnerable and incomplete, and that achieving durable happiness as a way of being is a skill. It requires sustained effort in training the mind and developing a set of human qualities, such as inner peace, mindfulness, and altruistic love.
Some people might think that the smartest way to guarantee their own well-being is to isolate themselves from others and to work hard at their own happiness, without consideration for what other people are experiencing. They probably assume that if everybody did that, we’d all be happy. But the result would be exactly the opposite: instead of being happy, they would be torn between hope and fear, make their own lives miserable, and ruin the lives of the people around them too.
Humility does not mean believing oneself to be inferior, but to be freed from self-importance. It is a state of natural simplicity which is in harmony with our true nature and allows us to taste the freshness of the present moment.
As long as a sense of self-importance rules your being, you will never know lasting peace.
Nothing goes right on the outside when nothing is going right on the inside.
We all have the ability to study the causes of suffering and gradually to free ourselves from them....it is not the magnitude of the task that matters, it's the magnitude of our courage.
For a few moments, be aware of your potential for change. Whatever your present situation is, evolution and transformation are always possible. At the least, you can change your way of seeing things and then, gradually, your way of being as well.
Transform our way of perceiving things, we transform the quality of our lives.
We deal with our mind from morning till evening and it can be our best friend or our worst enemy.
While it may be difficult to change the world, it is always possible to change the way we look at it.
Voluntary simplicity is at once joyous and altruistic. Joyous because it is not permanently plagued by the hunger for “more”; altruistic because it does not encourage the disproportionate concentration of resources in the hands of a few, resources which—were they to be spread evenly—would significantly improve the lives of those deprived of basic needs.
Being altruistic not only helps us to benefit others, but it is also the most satisfying way to live.
Happiness is the result of inner maturity. It depends on us alone, and requires patient work, carried out from day to day. Happiness must be built, and this requires time and effort. In the long term, happiness and unhappiness are therefore a way of being, or a life skill.
Few of us would regret the years it takes to complete an education or master a crucial skill. So why complain about the perseverance needed to become a well-balanced and truly compassionate human being?
Happiness is not the endless pursuit of pleasant experiences - that sounds more like a recipe for exhaustion - but a way of being that results from cultivating a benevolent mind, emotional balance, inner freedom, inner peace and wisdom. Each of these qualities is a skill that can be enhanced through training the mind.
To love oneself is to love life. It is essential to understand that we make ourselves happy in making others happy.