The way we experience life

Buddhist psychology offers a different approach to happiness, teaching that states of consciousness are far more crucial than outer circumstances.

More than anything else, the way we experience life is created by the particular states of mind with which we meet it. If you are watching a high school soccer playoff and your daughter is the nervous goalie, your consciousness will be filled with worry, sympathy, and excitement at each turn of the game. If you are a hired driver waiting to pick up someone’s kid, you will see the same sights, the players and ball, in a bored, disinterested way. If you are the referee, you will perceive the sights and sounds in yet another mode. Pure awareness becomes colored by our thoughts, emotions, and expectations.

With every sense impression and the consciousness that receives it, there arise qualities of mind such as worry, pride, and excitement. They arise between the senses and consciousness, and add their color to experience. These mental qualities and what they bring to each experience are critical for our happiness.

Training in mindfulness, we learn to be aware of our own mental states without being caught in them. This capacity for self-reflection is the key to Buddhist psychology - Jack Kornfield

Buddhist psychology offers a different approach to happiness, teaching that states of consciousness are far more crucial than outer circumstances.

More than anything else, the way we experience life is created by the particular states of mind with which we meet it. If you are watching a high school soccer playoff and your daughter is the nervous goalie, your consciousness will be filled with worry, sympathy, and excitement at each turn of the game. If you are a hired driver waiting to pick up someone’s kid, you will see the same sights, the players and ball, in a bored, disinterested way. If you are the referee, you will perceive the sights and sounds in yet another mode. Pure awareness becomes colored by our thoughts, emotions, and expectations.

With every sense impression and the consciousness that receives it, there arise qualities of mind such as worry, pride, and excitement. They arise between the senses and consciousness, and add their color to experience. These mental qualities and what they bring to each experience are critical for our happiness.

Training in mindfulness, we learn to be aware of our own mental states without being caught in them. This capacity for self-reflection is the key to Buddhist psychology – Jack Kornfield

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