three takeaways from yongey mingyur rinpoche's the joy of living



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My three biggest takeaways from Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s The Joy Of Living:

  1. Duality divides and the ego requires it
  2. Minds think, it’s what they do
  3. Time is merely an idea, but freeing ourselves from its dominance is within our power

Duality Divides And The Ego Requires It

Mingyur Rinpoche returned frequently to the idea of the duality that we possess as part of our identity. The ego requires a duality because it creates an other. Defining edges and borders can make navigating life easier, but when we stop and allow the distinctions to dissolve we can recognize that we’re all part of the same.

Michael Pollan discusses the dissolution quite a bit in How To Change Your Mind as it’s a common phenomenon of psychadelic use.

Minds Think, It’s What They Do

Rinpoche is an honorific title in Tibetan Buddhism. It is used to refer to particularly respected, learned and accomplished teachers.

So, when Yongey Mingyur described his meditation sessions, I took great comfort when he described the thoughts that would come unbidden and his refrain that brain’s think.

As a self-taught meditator, it’s never been totally clear what should happen when I meditate. Mingyur Rinpoche’s descriptions were useful here - particularly the idea of the waterfall, the river, and the lake as evolutioins of our relationship with our minds and the thoughts it produces.

Time Is Merely An Idea

Mingyur Rinpoche refers to the tyranny of time because of its potential to dominate our thoughts and dictate our actions. However, Mingyur Rinpoche makes a compelling argument that the past is an idea and the future is as well. The past is already gone and by the time we conceive of it, so too is the present.

One of the most powerful parables in the book was describing a monk who lived a life time in a single tea ceremony.

When we recognize that time is merely an idea, we can set ourselves free from its tyranny.

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