Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sharing Some Delights

Grateful for gift of half-day retreat with Gil, yesterday. During my interview with him, I shared the joy of my progress. How concentration is becoming easier and easier. Earlier during sitting, I had been able to welcome pain in stomach with relaxed openness, neither trying to transform it, nor hoping for time in near future without it. As a result, pain had transformed into another sensation, higher up in the chest and head. Things were moving . . . We talked about my travels, and how that experience had served to make me more aware. I was pleased, and so was Gil. I left, giddy with delight, and a touch of doubt also. Dwelling in joy with my teacher seemed almost too easy.

At the end of the retreat, Gil talked about the conditions for delight and joy. Here are my notes:
How can we avail to opportunities for joy more often? I used to think joy was the product of something that gave me reason to be joyful. With Dharma practice, I have learned to recognize that joy can bubble up from inside, independent from outer conditions in the world. 
One of inner conditions for joy is being relaxed and at ease. Joy is like an open window, and hindrances such as fear and resentment act as blinds that obscure the window of joy.
The other condition is appreciation. Like joy, appreciation does not need and external reason. Also the ability to appreciate deeper things in ourselves, allows us to appreciate others more deeply.
Barriers to appreciation include: being afraid of each other, not trusting, thinking appreciation is too sentimental, wanting something from someone, . . .
Sources of appreciation of other people: appreciation of obstacles they are facing in life, and how hard they are working to overcome them, appreciation of others engaged in Dharma practice, . . . 
Think of the many opportunities for appreciation that are easily available in our life. At the same time, be careful to not paper over difficulties.
Experiencing joy and delight is such a beautiful thing! 
I wonder, when is the last time you felt joy? What were the conditions?


  1. This reminds me of an interview I heard between Oprah and someone else. She was talking about joy and where it comes from. She gave an example of how she was in such a normal setting that particular morning...sipping her coffee, at home, with her dog and she felt great joy, so she questioned it.

    Was it her dog creating the joy?
    Was it the coffee?
    Was it being at home?
    Was it all of it?

    ...well, sort of, but what she said definitely rang true. It was the spaces between all of that. I think it was her just being truly present, although I do think the environment helped her.

    It is a meditation in itself to question where these feelings come from when they do arise. Wonderful stuff to ponder and be mindful of!

  2. Yes, joy for no reason, other than inner happiness. Impermanent like anything else, at least for most of us!

  3. Another wonderful and inspiring post. I love reading about your Dharma adventures.

    I could identify with your comment "Dwelling in joy with my teacher seemed almost too easy" Interesting how we are almost "suspicious" of joy? It has this awkward place for me in practice, but I have always had a sense that it not only has a place, but an important place.

    There is something so wonderfully straight forward and clear and deep about your practice. It pulls me onward. Thanks so much for sharing it with us all.

  4. Thank you, Dharma sister . . . for this gift of appreciation. It touched my heart. You are making the next step on the path even easier.

    Spiritual frienship!

    Deep bow, and continued sacred art making.