“A Joyful Buddha explores Silence, taking nothing seriously.”
Are you serious?
Are you frowning right now?
Turn your frown upside down.
If you want to have joy in your life, you need stop being so serious. Despite what you may have heard, there is no other way around this. If you want freedom, there is no quicker path than this. In fact, by not taking things seriously, all good in life starts to happen spontaneously the instant we turn that frown upside down. I am not promoting acting silly, walking around with purple underwear on your head. It is not about what you do; it’s about the attitude you have that truly makes a difference. Attitude is everything in this game of freedom.
Seriousness has become the foundation of modern society, this is obvious, and just have a look around. This is not tragic but a great comedy and source of amusement for our foundation of being. Seriousness is very funny when seen with clarity, once you see it you will have a hard time not laughing, trust me. Life becomes a non-stop invitation to laugh, of course nobody thinks it’s funny—this will just make you laugh even harder. In fact, there might be so much joy that you forget the reason for it. When this uncaused joy is permanent, this is freedom.
The real tragedy is that the bad attitude experienced by and through ‘the world’ has become common on the spiritual path. It has no place to be here at all, yet here it is. No one at heart really wants to be serious; they just can’t seem to stop. It is just so ingrained in the way we approach everything. It is a habit we have been trained in.
Having a joyful practice that helps us to take life lightly is important if we want to see through this addiction. When we sit down to meditate we ‘seriously’ try to still the mind. When we have intense emotions, we get ‘serious’ about them. The list is endless. We keep trying and trying and the cycle continues.
What many do not realize is that not taking things seriously and waking up to our true nature is exactly the same thing. The question is; how do I do that? It’s worth finding out how! Find out for the joy of it. You can make a game of it! You can try to wear purple underwear on your head, though I am not familiar with the success rate of that particular practice.
Can you imagine a life where Joy is the foundation and all of the events—good or bad—come and go without the usual drama? This is the beginning of real life.
In the world it is believed that seriousness is unavoidable and necessary, but this is simply not true. By discovering the Silence we start to see that we are wrong about this. Thank God, Buddha and Baby Jesus that we are wrong and have it all backwards. Can you imagine if enlightenment was serious? Why would you want it? In fact, the seriousness with which we have approached freedom is seen to be completely unnecessary and even harmful to our overall well-being. It is far better for you to smoke cigarettes than to be serious!
Simply put ‘Not Taking Things Seriously’ or (NTTS) is both the goal and the path of true spirituality. There is no peace, joy, or fulfillment with seriousness. Enlightenment is absolutely impossible with seriousness. I am being completely serious here.
A little exploration of the Silence will reveal this fact. Awareness of stillness, which is our true Self, is already allowing everything, all the time. This is true now even as you read these words. This sitting back and allowing-ness of the Silence used to make me angry when I was self-absorbed in ‘my’ drama. I would shout out (in my mind), ‘Hello, do you not care that I am suffering here?’ No answer, damn it! It just sits there not caring about me or doing anything to help.
The question is, why do I take everything so seriously when the source of life does not? Why not learn to live like the source of life? Our Being is already having all the fun and we are missing out because we think we are a separate and serious person. This is the cosmic joke.
By being aware of just how serious we are, we can start to break free from this nasty habit. If we start to approach our path with awareness and the intention to take things lightly, we open up to the infinite that is always available. Anytime we notice this seriousness we can use that as an invitation to laugh and enjoy the Silence instead of thinking. Seriously! With a joyful practice this choice gets easier to make.
Once we see how wonderful it is not take our thoughts, emotions and even our self seriously, the momentum of the joy of exploration builds. Life gets easier and easier, and as a result, clarity and commitment to the Silence become absolute and effortless.
Our being has never been serious, even when we were. All things that move us away from what we are—such as self-absorbed thinking—are because of this habit. Being aware of this habit of thinking can be very liberating. Now that I have shared with you the secret, there is no reason for you to take it seriously any longer… ever. If you notice that life is hard after reading this, then guess what you have done? That is right, you have taken something seriously. Just stop it and learn to laugh at yourself and remember: Seriousness is not a commitment! Commitment leads to freedom, seriousness leads away from it.
Thinking and seriousness are two sides of the same coin. By seeing this pattern we can start to enjoy all of the benefits of a path of Joy.
Paramananda was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1975 and currently lives in Vancouver, BC where he works as an electrician. He is the author of ‘A Path of Joy and The Way of Nothing’. He first learned how to meditate in 1999. Since then he has dedicated his life to exploring and sharing the freedom of this path. In 2003 he began to teach meditation and offer retreats based on the teachings of The Bright Path. These teachings reveal all that is required to walk this path with joy. He teaches that the silence and the humility of not taking yourself seriously are the foundations to seeing that you are already free.