If you aspire to wisdom and unalloyed happiness, keep the feelings of your heart free. Don’t over-react to life’s ups and downs. Don’t, in other words, when fortune visits you, dive boisterously into sparkling streams of excitement. Resist the temptation to sink despondently into a bog of despair when the trail before you suggests no way out of present difficulties.
For the unwary, the material world is an uncharted wilderness, fraught with peril. Occasional success—whether one’s own or someone else’s—lures the unpracticed hiker down countless trails of false hope. Too often, alas, the path vanishes into a desert of broken dreams. Success alternates with failure, like ridges and valleys on a mountain range.
The rules for a fruitful, happy life are not many, nor are they difficult to follow. They must, however, be studied carefully, by putting them into daily practice.
Toil and struggle are the norms of life on earth. They are blessings, not misfortunes, for they provide us with a testing ground for our own inner development. As we hone our peace of mind—its pure metal forged in meditation—on the abrasive surface of outer difficulties, we develop the clear discrimination with which to slice through to delusion’s heart. Eventually we arrive at that blessed state where the very luster of our peace protects us during all our activities.
The most important condition for lasting happiness is even-mindedness. Remain ever calmly centered in the Self, within. As a child’s sand castle disintegrates before invading waves, so does a restless mind, lacking strength of will and perseverance, succumb to the pounding it receives from the waves of changing circumstance.