One of my meditation teachers used to end each of our interviews actually, I'd have my hand on the door ready to leave, and she'd say to me, "Remember, Sylvia, be happy," and I'd go out and I actually for a long time thought it was a salutation, like "have a good day" or something that you say just in a routine kind of a way, and it took me a long time to realize that it was an instruction, "Be happy," and not only that it was an instruction but that it was a wisdom transmission, that happiness was a possibility. I understand that happiness to mean the happiness of a mind that's alert, that's awake to the amazing potential of being a person in a life, with a mind that's opened, that sees everything that's going on, that sees my own life drama and the drama of life, and realizes what an amazing possibility this is, and with a heart that's open, the heart that responds naturally as hearts do, in compassion, in connection with friendliness, with love, with consolation when it needs to, that that's the happiness of life, a mind that's awake, a heart that's engaged...So, you see, happiness is not about getting what we want. It's about keeping our heart open. And that is something we can all choose to do - no matter what our outward circumstances happen to be.
Monday, August 14, 2006
I want to bring you another passage from the commencement address by Sylvia Boorstein that I posted yesterday. This paragraph is from the very beginning of her speech and it's about the importance of happiness: