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Buddhadharma : Winter 2013
48 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY WINTER 2 0 1 3 thinking is not right thinking. Suffering is rela- tive. Something that causes one person to suffer may not cause another person to suffer. Being Fully Present in the Body With the practice of mindful breathing and mind- ful walking, we bring our mind back to our body. When the body and mind are together, we can establish ourselves in the here and now and get in touch with life and all of its wonders. We may say to ourselves, “Breathing in, I am aware that my body is here.” Breathing in, coming back to the body, and getting in touch with the body is already mindfulness—mindfulness that my body is here and that it is a wonder. Our feelings, emotions, and perceptions often feel like they’re overwhelming our bodies and minds. Mindfulness helps us get in touch with all of these things that are going on. Body, feelings, and perceptions are objects of our mindfulness. There are many other beautiful things inside and around us that we can also make the objects of our mindfulness. Every morning when we wake up, we can breathe in and get in touch with the miracle that is life. There are things that are won- derful, that can heal and nourish us. Mindfulness puts us in touch with those things. That is the first function of mindfulness: it brings us joy and happiness. Too Much Thinking Thinking can be productive and good. But most of the time, our thinking is not productive. Our thoughts pull us away from the here and now. It’s only in the here and now that we can encounter real life and be in touch with our body and the other wonders of life. When we get lost in our thinking, we’re not there for life. It’s very impor- tant to learn how to stop all of that unproduc- tive thinking. It doesn’t mean that thinking is inherently bad, because in fact thinking can be good. But so much of our thinking causes sor- row, fear, or anger to arise. We need to learn to and happiness, just as there is between mud and lotus. Real happiness is possible when we have the right view of suffering and happiness. It’s the same as front and back, right and left. The right cannot exist without the left; the left cannot exist without the right. Happiness cannot exist with- out suffering. Happiness is made of non-happiness elements, just as the flower is made of non-flower elements. When you look at the flower, you see non-flower elements like sunlight, rain, earth—all of the ele- ments that have come together to help the flower to manifest. If we were to remove any of those non-flower elements, there would no longer be a flower. Happiness is a kind of flower. If you look deeply into happiness, you see non-happiness ele- ments, including suffering. Suffering plays a very important role in happiness. When we live mindfully, we try to live in such a way that we can generate the energies of mindfulness, concentration, and insight through- out the day. These are the energies that bring us happiness and the clarity that we call right view. When we have right view, we’re able to practice right thinking. Right thinking is based on right view; it’s thinking that’s characterized by nondiscrimination and nonduality. According to right view, there can be no happiness without suffering. Our thinking can make us suffer, but it can also make us free. We need right thinking to help us stop our suffering. If there is a group of people living in the same environment, some may be happy and others unhappy. There are those among us who have the ability to appreciate the presence of the sun and get in touch with the trees, the fog, and all of the wonders of life that are around and inside us. But there are some people who don’t have the ability to get in touch with these wonderful things. They only see suffering. The conditions of their lives are exactly the same as those of the people who are happy, so why are some people happy and others not? The answer is that the one who is happy has right view. The other is suf- fering because he doesn’t have right view, so his RICHARDFRIDAY