Week of

Sadness and Joy Put Together

Real experience makes us sad and happy. In the Shambhala approach, sadness and even cowardice are regarded as total experiences. When you feel sad and lonely or, for that matter, hassled by reality, sadness is the vanguard of bravery. The warrior should feel alone and lonely. Of course, you can exaggerate loneliness by saying, “Nobody loves me; nobody cares about me.” But the basic notion of sadness is like somebody playing a flute. The music has its own melody and beauty, but a flute can only be played by one person at a time. That experience of sadness, which makes us alone and individual, also creates the total awareness and mindfulness of thinking twice or thrice about reality.

If you feel sad, you are more susceptible to seeing the blueness of an iris flower; you are more susceptible to seeing colorful butterflies; and you are more sympathetic to someone who is having a terrible headache. So sadness and joy put together are the fundamental notion of basic goodness.

From “Natural Hierarchy,” in The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Volume Eight, page 436.


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