Clear Confident Leader Weekly Observer, Issue #47
From the Greenbelt of Boise, Idaho, Crisp mornings
No dark fate determines the future. We do. Each day and each moment, we are able to create and re-create our lives and the very quality of human life on our planet. This is the power we wield.
– Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy (2016).
I was on a mastermind call with colleagues, discussing how we create the conditions of our lives. Our conversation traversed both the external environment we build around us, and the internal state of mind we generate.
The book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2014), was where we began. By clearing our clutter, category by category, choosing to keep (or remove) each item based on the joy it sparks (or not), helps us change our space and our state of mind. It provides a wonderful practice to create our space and cultivate Joy in our lives.
We extended the conversation beyond clutter to other aspects of our personal and professional lives. Where do we find joy, and how do we focus our attention on aspects that create more joy?
It is easy to focus our attention on the worries, problems and fears that arise in our minds. And, our energy follows our attention. Over time focusing on our fears can lead to a state of frustration, which can lead to a state of anger, which can lead to a state of hatred, which can lead to lashing out. There are examples of this range of behavior visible every day.
Where we focus our attention sets the stage for creating our state of mind. As the Dalai Lama clarifies in The Book of Joy, there are two kinds of experiencing happiness: one the enjoyment of pleasure through our senses, and the other at the deeper level through our mind. “While the joy of the senses is brief, the joy at this deeper level is much longer lasting. It is true joy.” As he says, we can develop this deeper level of joy through training our minds.
That doesn’t mean we never experience suffering, rather he describes it as developing a healthy immune system for our minds, so the suffering we experience doesn’t infect us. Given the suffering so evident in the world, developing a healthy immune system for our minds can make all the difference.
We can choose where to focus our attention, and what we cultivate in our minds. Staying in a problem-reacting state reinforces the status quo. Cultivating joy opens new possibilities.
Let’s cultivate joy, and create a better future today!