Some mornings I randomly open my “Pocket Pema Chodron” just to see what reading shows up for the day.  This one seemed so appropriate, I had to share it.

“As we train in opening our hearts and discovering the soft spot, we gradually feel more joy, the joy that comes from a growing appreciation of our basic goodness.  We still experience strong conflicting emotions, we still experience the illusion of separateness, but there’s a fundamental openness that we begin to trust.  This trust in our fresh, unbiased nature brings us unlimited joy – a happiness that’s completely devoid of clinging and craving.  This is the joy of happiness without a hangover.

How do we cultivate the conditions for joy to expand?  We train in staying present.  In sitting meditation, we train in mindfulness and unconditional friendliness; in being steadfast with our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts.  We stay with our own little plot of earth and trust that it can be cultivated, that cultivation will bring it to its full potential.  Even thought it’s full of rocks and the soil is dry, we begin to plow this plot with patience.  We let the process evolve naturally.


At the beginning joy is just a feeling that our own situation is workable.  We stop looking for a more suitable place to be.  We’ve discovered that the continual search for something better does not work out.  This doesn’t mean that there are suddenly flowers growing where before there were only rocks.  It means we have the confidence that something will grow here.  As we cultivate our garden, the conditions become more conducive to the growth of bodhichitta.  The joy comes from not giving up on ourselves, from mindfully sticking with ourselves and beginning to experience our great warrior spirit.”


Bodhichitta can be translated to “the awakening mind, the acceptance of what is.”  Most days I feel able to live this way, some days are more challenging.  But it feels like I’m moving in that direction and it’s good. 

2 Thoughts on “Happiness without a hangover

  1. You are moving in that direction my dear. Yes, you are. Thanks for sharing. And know that I am thinking of you and holding you up during these final days of your challenging UN assignment.

  2. And….I’m going to totally steal your post, but give you the credit for it, so I guess that’s not really stealing. It applies to myself and so many of my friends right now. I need to share it. xoxo

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