When the weather is beautiful, we notice how the human mind is influenced and affected by the brightness of sunshine. On a sunny day in England, I always feel that the sunshine brings happiness into people’s minds, and when they’re happy, they seem to get along better naturally. What happens to our minds when the clouds come? When the mind is miserable, it is difficult to connect with people.
The Buddha’s entire teaching is about finding a happiness which is different from conventional happiness. Conventional happiness gives way to misery and unsatisfactory experiences. We tend to be experts in conditioned happiness: not a stable, fundamental happiness, but a happiness dependent on things. Some of those things are healthy and helpful, but others are destructive and can lead us to misery, sickness, addiction and obsession.
Buddhist teaching is a clear map to psychological health. The Buddha shows very clearly where the mind becomes diseased and the path that takes the mind to a state of health. There are many aspects to that path.
One of the first important teachings I learned from Ajahn Sumedho was how to develop the ability to see life as it is and to simply learn from it, not to fall into the traps of judging, criticizing, wanting things to be different, feeling constantly discontented.
Remember to receive life as it is.
This reflection by Ajahn Sundara is from the book, Paccuppanna, (pdf) pp. 44-45.