When I try to change what I dislike in me by fighting it I merely push it underground. If I accept it, it will surface and evaporate. What I resist will stubbornly persist. I consider the example of Jesus, who sets himself the task of moving mountains and battles with exasperating foes. Yet even in his anger he is loving—he combines a keen desire for change with an acceptance of reality as it is. I try to be like him. I start with feelings I dislike.
Ignorance and fear, ignorance caused by fear, that’s where all the suffering comes from, that’s where your violence comes from. The person who is truly nonviolent, who is incapable of violence, is the person who is fearless. It’s only when you’re afraid that you become angry. Think of the last time you were angry. Go ahead. Think of the last time you were angry and search for the fear behind it.
Is it possible that one would suffer because of one’s cultural programming mixed with one's toxic past and how it might've wired the brain and yet some day through an awakening one could rise above it all? This much is clear— the human heart pulses with serenity and happiness even as storms pass by. There may be clouds on the outside but there's blue sky on the inside. Many of the mystics say before enlightenment, they identify with the clouds. After enlightenment, they identify with the sky.
Does the dropping of attachments mean detachment from the material world? No. One uses the material world, one enjoys the material world, but one doesn’t make one’s happiness depend on the material world. You really begin to enjoy things when you’re unattached because attachment brings anxiety. If you’re anxious when you’re holding on to something, you can hardly enjoy it. It's not a withdrawal from enjoyment; it’s a withdrawal from possessiveness, anxiety, tension, and the loss of something.
All the mystics tell us our life is in our hands. Okay, let’s suppose you want to grasp that. Let’s suppose you want to see it. What do you have to first understand about yourself? First, your life is in a mess. You don’t like to hear that; it brings up all kinds of resistance, but here is the litmus test that proves it. Once it's fully embrace, without any self-condemnation, everything can begin to change.
I’ll tell you what it means to live like a king or queen. It means to know no anxiety at all. To have no inner conflict at all. No tensions, no pressures, no upset, no heartache. What are you left with? Happiness, undiluted. People ask me, “What do I do to be happy?” You don’t do anything to be happy. You know why? Because you have it already, but you're blocking it. Remove the blocks.
Where there is love, there is no desire. I am referring to desire in the sense of attachment. Where there is attachment there is fear. Love begins where attachments end. You know what society will tell you? “Attachment is love.” Are you really expecting to find life here? You can find only manipulation, seduction, and control. You can find only death and misery. The death of happiness, the death of innocence, the death of freedom, the death of authenticity.
A Japanese master woke up each morning laughing a great belly laugh that resounded through the monastery, waking up the other monks. The monks wondered what made the master laugh but he wouldn’t say. For millennia, mystics have posed the question to seekers: “Why are you unhappy? Why are you scared?” Until we've seen Reality, it makes sense to us to feel unsafe; to be unhappy. Yet it's as silly as a fish afraid of drowning. This is what the master was laughing at.
There is never a minute when, consciously or unconsciously, you are not aware of or attuned to the reactions of others, marching to the beat of their drums. When you are ignored or disapproved of, you experience a loneliness so unbearable that you crawl back to people and beg for the comforting drug of reassurance called approval. To live with people in this state involves a never-ending tension. A nice definition of an awakened person is someone who no longer marches to the drums of society, a person who dances to the tune of the music that springs up from within. Awake up! Life is a banquet. Enjoy it.