On Monday, Marie will facilitate.
We will build on last week's theme, reflecting on the positive elements in our lives, by exploring an element of the human condition known as "negative bias" and how we can touch joy whilst in its midst.
Recently, there as been a spate of scientific studies on the concept of negative bias and it's impact. Anam Thubten describes how, with negative bias, we automatically focus on what is wrong in our lives. Such a habit has a powerful impact on our emotions.... This explains ...why we cannot feel the wonder of each moment and the vibrancy of being alive. This scientific idea can be useful for cultivating more and more self-knowledge. No matter what the source of insight might be, they can all be integrated into the dharma. Knowing ourselves deeply is the beginning, as well as the process by which any kind of true change occurs. Knowledge of all of these karmic, mental, and neurological patterns coupled with the right intention and continuous practice of awareness, allows us to unravel these knots with each step we take.
Knowing that we are wired to have negative bias can, in and of itself, help us to see past, and even avoid, this distorted "reality" and touch joy. What else can help us to touch joy? That's what we'll explore on Monday night.
Anam Thubten has two suggestions that can start the ball rolling: One is to help others in whatever ways we can, and the other is to live with as much joy as possible. Living with true joy is not about shutting down our heart from seeing the ongoing problems in the world or living in a little golden bubble where we intoxicate ourselves in the bliss of false comfort. It is more about not getting caught up in the mental world so that we can open to all situations with an attitude of welcoming the dance of reality. For many of us, life is quite kind most of the time. It would be hard to live in joy if we're struck by real crisis. Actually, that is only true when ego has the upper hand. Otherwise even in those moments, many surprisingly find themselves being liberated from within.
As you read this email, I invite you to create an intention to bring more joy into your everyday life and to practice with this over the coming days. As Rinpoche says, it is time to shed the light of awareness on our inner demons and to hold the intention to let go of our identification with them. It's also time to remember the significance of a simple smile that reflects the Buddha within.
I look forward to being with you and to learning about your experience with getting to know your negative bias and how you are working to see clearly and touch the joy that is there.