Hiding in Plain Sight – Finding Joy and Satisfaction in a Difficult World

Dec 15, 2022

In this week’s session, Jason explores mudita, the Pali word for sympathetic and appreciative joy. As part of the human experience, we come into this world born with a deeply entrenched negativity bias. As psychologist and dharma teacher Rick Hanson puts it, our minds have “Teflon for the good and Velcro for the bad”, especially during difficult times. As a result, when we are acutely experiencing suffering, it can be extremely challenging to see the positive qualities in others and in the world around us, as we begin to see and experience everything around us from a limited perspective. Out of no fault of our own, our minds become narrowed down and fearful, seeing the “other” only in terms of how they might harm us and increase our already immense suffering. It can feel almost impossible during such times to experience joy and happiness even for ourselves, never mind for other people. This is especially the case when we are amongst those who don’t appear to appreciate, understand, or really care at all about the pain that we may be in and/or are going through. Such an experience only serves to increase our sense of isolation and despair. This is where mudita comes in. Like a breath of fresh air, mudita makes space and evokes a shift in our narrowed-down perspective. We will explore how mudita turns the experience of suffering on its head. By evoking and inclining ourselves towards mudita we can begin to soften up, and perhaps start to feel sympathy and joy, not only for ourselves, but also for others, and all of life itself. By doing so, we open the door to the boundless wonder and beauty that is indeed our True Nature. The talk will end with a discussion of practices that can be used to evoke and incline our heart-minds into the abundant, open space where mudita abides and waits patiently and joyfully in anticipation of a visit from each and every one of us.