In a coda to Sitting: A guide to Buddhist Meditation, Diana St. Ruth describes the fruits of freedom.
Happiness cannot be forced into existence, nor can it be forced out of it, but it can be held in abeyance. This is what we do when we hang on to things and people and ideas in our minds and refuse to let them go. The mind becomes blocked and the way is dammed up.
Being alert, observing the movements of the mind and body in daily life, noticing what is taking place—as opposed to what one wishes would take place, or what one fears might take place, or what one grieves over as having already taken place—is a way of life that is completely free of all self-imposed restrictions and conflicting states of mind. Wisdom and compassion will be allowed to function freely under these circumstances. Views, speech, ways of living, mindfulness, and concentration are unhindered by greed, guilt, hatred, carelessness, complacency, and fear when divisions are seen to be arbitrary and there is no sense of “This is me”; “That is you.”
When the way ahead is open and clear and one has the goodwill, light-heartedness, and courage to tread it, the past and the future melt into nothingness, life is lived from the center of one’s being, and the self becomes as meaningful as the blue sky, the green fields, the flowing rivers, the littered streets, the hustling crowds, the filth and the beauty.
When one follows what is right according to one’s heart and good sense, when wisdom and compassion become real, not contrived, the way of heaven manifests beneath one’s feet. That is the way of liberation from suffering and the realization of genuine happiness.
Diana St. Ruth is editor of the British quarterly magazine Buddhism Now. Her books include The Simple Guide to Zen Buddhism and The Simple Guide to Theravada Buddhism.
Excerpted from Sitting: A Guide to Buddhist Meditation, a Tricycle Book by Diana St. Ruth, reprinted with permission from Penguin Putnam, Inc.