The Source of Joy Within

A Workbook to remember awareness & celebration



look inside the book…

...This is not a book for reading only. Twelve sets of reminders are practical methods and guides for a whole year's inner practice. These reminders can be incorporated easily into your daily routine, without demanding additional time.

This book guides you on the path of attaining fulfillment and peace in ways that you can practice, regardless of your status in life or your cultural or religious background. It is a practical manual designed to help you explore, discover, understand and live life in fullness and harmony.

It is a book for those who want to care for themselves and have felt a longing to realize their human potential. It will prove to be an indispensable guide for many who wish to live with the ongoing awareness of the wondrousness of reality with all its beauty, celebration and mystery.

How To Use This Book

Each of the chapters contains a set of reminders that support the inner growth and flowering of the human potential and can be applied and practiced in day-to-day life. They can be integrated into your daily routine without much additional time and effort.

These reminders were originally given for the monthly sesshin practice. The expression, sesshin, comes from the Japanese background and refers to an intense period, devoted to wakefulness and inner understanding.

Each set of these sesshin reminders is meant to be used for a period of three weeks. After that, it is recommended to allow a gap of one week before you begin with the next set of reminders. There are twelve sets of reminders in this book, enabling you to use them for a period of a whole year.

At the end of the book, you will find a brief summary of the sesshin Reminders, which can make the practice easier. You can take the book every morning to review the summary of the two reminders you are working with, enhancing the remembrance and wakefulness for a whole day.

Depending on the intensity with which you approach the practice, you may discover different depths of insight and experience. Work with the sesshin reminders deeply, take them to heart and make a commitment to practice them. This book provides an opportunity to experiment, allowing the reminders to be a challenge and support for the inner growth and blossoming. Those who begin with such a determination, wherever they are, whatever they are doing, will recognize that something very valuable for their life will start to open up for them. ...

Chapter III:
Unique Challenge: Using The Mind
Or Being Used By The Mind?

One thing, which we very often forget in our lives is that every human being is unique! Normally, when people speak about equality, there are some very subtle, yet deep misunderstandings, assuming that everybody is the same. This is a grave mistake because it leads us to go about our lives in a competitive and comparative manner. This prevents us from seeing and experiencing the uniqueness and the beauty in ourselves and others.

It is valuable to look at everyone as unique beings and to look at each and every aspect of creation as something unique. Realize that each flower is unique, each bird is unique -- not only each human being--but even each stone is unique. Consciously hold this remembrance in your mind and heart and do not fall victim to the ongoing comparative and competitive approach, which is part of our usual conditioning. When we fall back on our past conditioning, reacting more or less robot-like, we prevent the blossoming of love and compassion, as well as hinder the possibility of a deeper understanding of the reality.

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The first reminder for this sesshin is this:

Whenever you are looking at anyone, consciously look at his or her uniqueness. Become aware of the distinctiveness of each human being. Start with human beings and then extend this orientation to every other aspect of nature, whether it is an animal, bird, flower, or stone. Wherever you are, stay with this remembrance: that all manifestations in this existence are unique. When you look at another being with this remembrance, you will be surprised to see that, naturally and spontaneously, there is a certain kind of carefulness and respectfulness, a certain conscious sensitivity emerging in your life.

This remembrance will also help us towards inner freedom by preventing us from getting entangled in many unhealthy and destructive patterns and tendencies, which we may have carried unconsciously in us as a part of our past conditioning. Therefore, begin to connect with this awareness with as much decisiveness and intensity as possible, because without a very conscious initiative from your side, the old habits of the mind will overtake and cause the automatic reactions you are used to. The mechanism of the mind is not equipped to observe the uniqueness of all, nor is the mind aware of it. Take the initiative and let this become conscious and clear.

This conscious recognition of the uniqueness of everyone you encounter is the first reminder.

The second reminder is indirectly connected to the first, and has to do with making a clear difference between using the mind and being used by the mind.
In an unconscious state, we go about life like a slave to programs and conditionings, which have mostly been imposed on oneself from outside. In such a state, one is not using the mind, but more so being used by the mechanisms and conditionings of the mind. Surely, being used by the mind cannot be fulfilling in a deeper sense for the human being, because the mind is very limited and narrow. This entanglement in the conditioned mind does not allow us to be open, to see and experience the depths and heights of the hidden potential in us all and in this life-process.

This reminder has a lot to do with our recognition of the difference between two approaches: One approach is being concerned about something, and thereby also being careful and taking responsibility for something, and the other is being caught in worrying and anxiety, and thereby getting lost in a heavy and burdensome state.
When you are being considerate of, caring for, being concerned or thinking about something, the moment it is required, deliberately looking into various possibilities, your mind is being used in a valuable manner. It is a healthy way of engaging the mind. You are bringing energy deliberately into this mechanism of the mind and thereby using its capacity and potential. But when the mind is going on automatically - with the worrying and anxiety going on like a smoke undercurrently - the energy gets scattered and dissipates. When this happens, energy is not available for other areas where your attention is truly needed. Your whole energy is needed in serving your intention of going differently about your life, with the right dynamism, lightness and intensity.

If you do not remember to deliberately disentangle yourself from the mechanicalness of your mind, worry, anxiety, and an unfulfilling life will result. Dis-entanglement can begin when you take time to consider, in a very conscious and deliberate way, the factors that you need to attend to. After having looked into them deeply and carefully, and having taken all necessary steps to resolve them, make it clear to yourself that you need not carry them in your mind any longer. Decide when you need to attend to them next and let them go from your mind. Make it clear to yourself to let them go, not allowing the mind to go on carelessly and indefinitely engaged with unresolved matters. This way, the energy becomes more and more focused and free. For this to happen requires a certain kind of inner discipline.

There is another important factor that you can observe in your day-to-day life. When you create an overview of your day and decide to take a set amount of time for specific areas of your work, plan your day in a way that you will get clearer inside, so that the planning gives you an orientation. However, deep within, you need to remember and be clear about the fact that your daily plan or overview is not something to be held on to blindly and tenaciously. It has to be used simply as direction!
It is very significant for you to be clear; when being with one area, do not let the mind interfere and mix up different things unnecessarily. This allows you to take time for one area, remembering and orienting to fully be with it. After having taken care of that one area, go wholeheartedly into another area and decide that you are going to take this time specifically for it. Stay intensely and totally with it. In this way, you will not adopt an approach of worry and anxiety. After careful consideration and taking the steps that you can take at this time, leave the rest to the divine! This is a very conscious and careful way of using your energy. It also gives a kind of inner discipline, one that uses the mechanism of the mind instead of being enslaved by it. Go about this challenging discipline playfully in the following way.

Second reminder:

Every time you are looking at a watch, let that also be an occasion to watch your mind. Additionally, use every occasion in which you notice that you are with any specific thought, or when you notice that something is engaging you, question yourself, "Am I using my mind?" or "Am I being used by my mind?" Whenever you remember, or have the time for it, or at least seven times each day, question yourself in such a manner. After having considered the question carefully, take steps towards using the mind by using the methods described previously.

Remember to use the mind in a deliberate and conscious way, without letting yourself be a slave to it! This second reminder will be very helpful and valuable to work with.

When working with these reminders carefully and consistently, you will see that they can deeply support you in living a life that is truly creative, authentically loving, and deeply human.

Conscious and deliberate practice of these reminders will lead to a peaceful and fulfilling life.

Silent sitting:

Silent sitting is another, more subtle, way to learn to use the mind deliberately. During this period of sitting, you should not be in any role or be pursuing any goal. There is no need to carry on further with any of the burdens or unclarities of the past. Whenever an unresolved issue arises, remember just to look at it and let it pass by. During this period, remember and be mindful that you are sitting now just to be consciously with the silence. Whatever thoughts, feelings, or reactions of any kind that arise in you --simply notice them and let them pass by. Don't fight against them or hold on to them. Stay as intensely and wakefully as possible and let them go. Deep within, remember that you are not to interfere with the mechanism of the mind, nor let the mechanism of the mind overtake you. Simply be a non-interfering, mirror-like presence!

With this remembrance, sit for one hour.

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What We Really Need

Once a mystic wanted to give practical lessons to his disciples. So the mystic and his disciples all went on a journey, where one inevitably has many valuable experiences.

As they went on this journey, they realized that they were not well prepared and lacked provisions for their long trip. Luckily, some villagers along the way were hospitable and happily provided the food and shelter they needed. In the evenings, before going to sleep, the mystic prayed, "Oh God, you always provide us with what we need, you always give us what we truly require."
The travelers were quite happy with where they were, but the mystic decided they should move on.

As they continued to travel they fell on difficult times. One day as they stopped at a village to get help, the villagers were not very welcoming. They gave them food, but did not allow them to stay. So the travelers left the village and camped nearby. Later in the evening, when it was time for prayer, the mystic said loudly, "Oh God, you always provide us with what we need, you always give us what we truly require." The disciples who heard the prayer felt that the mystic was unrealistic and almost hypocritical. After all, they reasoned, God was not giving them what they needed and required. They felt in order to be happy and content, they needed a good place to sleep.

The next day was even more problematic as the group traveled further with little food and no sleep. They were relieved to arrive at another village. But alas, these villagers were even more suspicious and unaccepting of the unusual strangers. So, once again our group of travelers was not allowed to sleep comfortably, instead they got chased out, left with no shelter and no food. They finally found a place outside of the village where they could rest. The mystic then prayed his usual prayer, "Oh God you always give us what we require. You always give
us what we truly need. We are so grateful." He continued to pray with great feeling, from the bottom of his heart. Some of his disciples started to become increasingly irritated about what the mystic was praying. They thought that the mystic was false in this particular prayer since God was not giving them what they wanted and what they needed.

They next day became even worse, if you can imagine!
As they attempted to stay in another village, the people there were really antagonistic, they even began to throw stones and start fights with our travelers, who rushed to escape. That night, the mystic and his disciples had no food and no place to sleep. They found themselves under the open sky, hungry and reeling in these recent hardships, their worse yet! In the evening, the mystic started to pray once again with deep gratitude, "Oh God, you always give us what we need and we thank you for it."

At this point, one of the disciples, who was getting extremely irritated and heated up about this whole display, came running up to the mystic and said, "What kind of hypocrisy is this? You thank God for giving us everything we need, but we do not have anything we need. We do not have a place to stay and we do not have food and at the last village, they even hurt us. We need a good place to stay, we need to have good food, and we need to be respected, but God is giving us none of what we need!"

The mystic looked at the man and replied, "You, as a seeker of truth, need to go through these experiences and at the same time look at what is arising in you; look at what is happening in you. You need to become conscious of what is really going on and taking place inside you not only when it is comfortable and convenient, but even more so when things seem to be against you and are uncomfortable for you. When you feel gratitude in the midst of what is uncomfortable and inconvenient in your life, then you can become free and fulfilled. Only then do you stop becoming a slave to your human emotions of fear and greed."

Epilog

When there is an experiential understanding of reality, the reality that is non-dualistic, then we can coexist in a state of inner and outer balance, prospering and celebrating this life and existence without getting trapped in extremes such as fanaticism and dogmatism, as well as keeping us from falling into an unloving, inhuman and violent way of living.

An intelligent and loving life, which leads to clarity, freedom and joy, is a possibility left open for each of us.