(Zazen music plays in the background and continues throughout the talk.)

Zen Master Rama here. Today our topic is, guess what? Happiness! A warm puppy, right? (Rama laughs.) Could be! We’ll find out!

Our subject today is happiness. And the koan is, happiness is a warm puppy. As opposed to a cold duck? You’re in the magical world of Zen, where anything can happen and usually does because it’s your life! And in your life, just about everything happens all the time.

So sit back if you’re driving in your car, or your car’s driving you, or your mother’s hitting you on your head, or, just about anything could be happening, I mean it usually is. Your wife left you, your kid just went to jail, you went to jail, they smuggled you in a Zen Tape. The Russian missiles are on the way and you haven’t finished dinner. You’re lying in the hospital and you’ve got two days to live. You’ve just made your first successful movie and everybody wants a part of the action, which is you. Your team just lost, and you missed the shot and the papers said it was your fault—and it was.

Happiness. How can you be happy in a world like this? I mean you’ve got to be crazy to even attempt something like that. How can you be happy in the midst of delusion, when everyone around you doesn’t know what they’re doing? They’re all trying to make each other miserable and themselves miserable. Happiness? You’ve got to be kidding. Happiness? Happiness is a warm puppy! Happiness is simple.

I am an expert in the world of the supremely happy because I am happy. I’m probably the happiest being you’ll ever meet. You become as happy as I am, and you’ve done an amazing thing. I’ve never met anybody as happy as I am. That in itself should make you unhappy. I mean what can be more miserable than someone who’s happier than you? (Rama laughs.)

So sit back and be cool. Let’s talk a little bit about how to be happy from someone who really knows. Enjoy the music. Be happy! In the background is the rad sound of the music group, Zazen. And happiness is a warm puppy, isn’t it, Charles Schulz?

Happiness is your life, when you let go of it a little bit more. Happiness is everything in the whole universe. It’s a state of mind. Like everything is a state of mind. Your whole life is a state of mind. So be happy. Why not?

Now, how do you become happy? I just feel like leaving the music on for a while, if you don’t mind today. How do you become happy? (Rama talks in the tone of a desperate person) “Oh, God! There’s got to be a way! There’s gotta be a way to be happy! I know there’s a way! If I could find a way, I’d give anything! I’d sell my soul to the devil, anything!” (Back to normal voice.) Because who wants to be miserable? Why live, why exist, why be? Why, why?

Maybe if you stopped asking “why” all the time, you might be happy. Leave it alone, you know? I mean life is happy! Go look at a tree. You look at a tree, what do you see? You see leaves. It’s nice. Palm trees out here in California, we have palm trees. You may not live in California. Of course you’re not happy if you don’t live in California! We all know the beautiful people live in California because we have palm trees. They have them in Florida—it’s not the same.

Life is happy. Trees are happy. They don’t have to do anything to be happy, except just be trees. And maybe if you were just you, you’d be happy. But of course, you don’t know who or what you are. So how can you possibly be happy? That’s why you’ve got to study Zen. Or something. I mean call it what you want to, but it has to be a way in which you can discover “you,” so you cannot distinguish yourself from anything or anyone else. Because you, as we both know, think you’re somebody, and that’s where the problem begins—because you’re really not somebody, you’re everybody. And because you’re somebody, you objectify yourself into thinking that you are a particular state of being or mind with a past history, a future identity, things you want, need, plans.

“Oh God! Things that you can get! Experiences to have!” You think that you’re all that. Well, no wonder you’re not happy. What an awesome responsibility to carry around all the time. You. Yuck! I mean, how could you possibly be happy if you think you’re a person? Because we all know, just by definition, that people are definitely not happy because they take everything so seriously. I mean, I don’t know if they take everything seriously, but they take themselves seriously.

Ah! But in Zen we have a secret. The secret to happiness. Happiness may be a warm puppy, as opposed to a cold duck, but the way you become happy is by realizing that there is no “self.” Nope. No self at all. Not a half of self, not a quarter of a self, not an eighth, not a sixteenth, not a silly millimeter of self. “No thelf whathsoever,” as Daffy Duck would say. No self. There is no self. You don’t exist. And when you know this, you’ll be happy. Like I’m happy. Happy in all states of mind, in all conditions, on all occasions, even somebody else’s birthday. Happy at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, happy in the office, happy under pressure, happy when you create pressure for others, happy when there’s no pressure. Happy. Because life is beautiful all of the time. And just to be alive and to perceive that beauty of life all around you and within you is just the best that there is.

What more could there be, but the absolute beauty of our lives? Look around you, for heaven’s sake and stop thinking. It’s only in your thoughts and in analytical processes that you lose yourself. Sometimes you find yourself there; there are days like that. I mean, my God! Life is beautiful. Look at the colors! And if you’re blind, look at the colors of your mind.

Just to exist, just to be, to take a breath, to feel that. Whether it’s pleasure or pain, loss or gain, just your experience in life is unique to you. No one sees life like you do. Because you’re no one. You change constantly, like the light outside the window. The sun comes up, the sun goes down. The puppy is warm. Your life is warm. Happiness only comes when you let go of who you think you are. Because even if you think you’re wonderful, if you think you’re enlightened, if you think you’re wealthy and powerful and noble and truthful or horrible and demonic, or whatever it may be, however you conceive of yourself, it’s all a waste of time. Take it from the Zen Master. He knows.

You are everything and everyone. You’re in all things. You exist in all conditions. You are the universe. You just think of yourself as existing inside a temporal body. You believe you were born at a certain time, and the experiences you’ve had from then until now have created the sum total of you. You feel that you’ll probably end at your death—unless you believe in an afterlife or reincarnation, in which case you just think you are older, you’ve had more lives, or you’ll always stick around in the afterlife. But you could be miserable forever. Forever, you know, is a very, very long time.

So how do you become happy? How do you find that magic essence? It’s a balance. It’s inside your mind. Everything. Everything, my friend, is inside your mind. And there’s a whole crazy world around you that you’re born into. You can’t control it, so don’t even try. Because the more you try to control your environment, the more it controls you.

People think that they can tame the earth. How absurd! I mean, the vanity of human wishes is endless. It’s more fun to dance with life. In all of your activities, no matter what they are—making love, making money, making friends, whatever it may be that you’re doing—you can be happy, once you learn how, because you will realize that happiness is not dependent upon experience. That is to say, what you experience shouldn’t make you happy or unhappy when you know how to be happy.

Happiness is separate from daily experience. If picking the right door on the game show and winning all the money makes you happy, then, of course, you know you’re going to be unhappy in the future because eventually you’ll pick a wrong door. If your happiness is dependent upon what occurs to you—“You got the job, you got the loan, Charlie! Congratulations!” You got the loan, now you’ve got the payments. This is going to make you happy? You got the house, wonderful! Now you’ve got the house, you’ve got another millstone around your neck, right? I mean, it depends how you look at it. Now you’re rich and famous, and now everybody wants a part of the action. Not because they like you, but they like what you have, because they think that will make them happy. The rich aren’t happy, so they try and get richer thinking it will make a difference, or they use their riches. And the poor aren’t happy. They try and get rich thinking that will make a difference. Everybody is dependent upon external circumstances because people don’t know the secret of life. Sad!

I do. I know a lot of secrets. I think that’s because I’ve been around a very, very, very long time, a lot longer than you. You learn a few things in those tens of thousands of millions of lifetimes. And I’d like to pass a few on to you.

One of those secrets is how to be happy. Which again, in my opinion, is not a very difficult thing to do but requires a certain spirit, more than anything. Enthusiasm is the key word.

Now today we’re talking about happiness. We’re not talking about bliss, ecstasy, tranquil peace and perfection, power. Today we’re talking about being happy; rhapsodically, ridiculously happy; bubbly, perky, cute; just generally happy all the time, no matter what happens, right? Ten-five.1

How can you be happy? Well, as I said before, you’ve got to realize that there’s no “self.” There’s nobody home. No forwarding address, no zip code. Address unknown. The reason you’re not happy is that you’ve tied yourself to an identity. You identify with your “self,” with your life, with your being, with all kinds of things. You have personal history. You have commitments. There are things that you like, there are things that you don’t like, there are things that you want to experience and other things that you want to avoid. In other words, you’re a mess. Let’s face it. You don’t know what reality is, where it begins, where it ends, how the universe works. You can just get through the day, get through the lifetime.

It’s because you’re too busy, my friend, looking around you and not inside. I mean, everything is inside—gosh, didn’t your mom or dad tell you? Everything is inside you. It’s true! The whole universe, everything. How do they fit it? Micro technology. We had it a long time ago when we first invented the universe. How to take a whole universe and put it inside someone’s mind. It’s one of our better tricks—systems design from the higher lokas to you.

But anyway, you want to be happy. And of course, that isn’t how you get to be happy because if you want to be happy, then you’re going to be sitting around being unhappy because you’re not as happy as you’d like to be. Another in a series of endless Catch-22’s.

So then, perhaps, the way that you become happy, first of all, is by not trying. Not trying to be happy. Not wanting to be happy, but by doing something quite different. That’s Zen practice. In Zen practice, we don’t directly try to do or achieve anything because we know that all doing and all achieving only binds us to an idea of our “self.” In other words, you’re such and such a person who likes football, basketball, young cute women or men. You don’t like Ferraris, you like Lamborghinis. You don’t like the cities, you like the tranquility of the country. So of course, if you’re ever in a city you’ll be unhappy, or you’ll be unhappy in a Ferrari, or if you’re with an older woman or older man you’ll be unhappy. You’ll only be happy in the situations and circumstances that you’ve set up for yourself. Of course, you won’t be happy in those for very long because while you’re sitting inside the Lamborghini, you’re still inside your mind. If you haven’t worked it out inside your mind, you’re just not going to be having a very good time, are you?

There are no problems, there’s only confusion. And when confusion passes away, there’s only happiness. Happiness is a warm puppy. Happiness is not complicated at all. You don’t need a lot of things for it. You’ve just got to go get yourself a warm puppy, right? And there it is.

Happiness consists of just being in a lovely, clear state of mind because if you’re in a clear state of mind, a mind that isn’t tormented with doubts and worries and anxieties, then naturally you will be happy. Happiness is not dependent upon outer circumstance. Happiness is falling in love with everything around you, everything inside you. You can be locked away in that prison and be free, if your mind is not a prison. Or you can be out walking around with lots of credit cards and be in a prison, the prison of your own mind, the prison of your illusions.

Today we’re going to break you out. We’re going to get you a pardon, here. (Rama talks in the tone of a desperate person) “Warden! Warden! I want to get out. Warden! Warden! What did the Parole Board say?” (Rama playfully imitates an Irish cop) “Sorry, Johnny, aye, they shot ye down, ye know? Johnny, ye’re a bad boy, we’re never gonna let ye out of here. Aye, Johnny, ye’re never gonna be happy, ye’re just gonna rot!” (Back to normal voice.)

It can happen—I guess. Happiness. Happiness comes from living in the moment. This moment, now, right here. “Number Five is alive,” right? [Reference to the film Short Circuit.] Just to be. To be clear, in a clear state of mind, is to see what this moment is. Naturally, if you’re in obscure states of mind, you won’t see what this moment is, and of course you won’t be happy in it. You won’t realize its beauty.

I’m suggesting that you don’t have to do anything to be happy, nor do you have to avoid anything. You can do things and be happy, you can do nothing and be happy. Happiness comes from within. Within what? Within your mind. It’s already there. That’s the thing you need to see, my friend. Happiness already exists. You don’t have to go out and get it. No one—I can’t give you happiness. I can show you where it is, but I can’t give it to you. How can I give you what you already have? You have to get it yourself, inside your mind.

Your whole life is inside your mind. Your mind is the prism that refracts all of the universe. Everything around you and within you comes from your mind. Mind is not simply, of course, the collection of aggregate cells inside your brain. If you’re only the gray matter, so to speak, then when that dies, you won’t exist anymore. It’s not that easy. You exist forever. You’ve always existed and you’ll always exist. You move in and out of bodies like some people in Los Angeles move in and out of houses—every other week, every other lifetime.

Happiness is in the mind, and the mind is the universe. Your mind is the universe. Not just this physical universe that you’re perceiving through the medium of your senses—seeing, smelling, touching, feeling, hearing, kissing.

Life is love. It is! Oh, it may look objectively cruel. You see people suffer—how can you be happy when somebody you love is suffering? Well, why not? You think not being happy is going to make it better for them? They could be happy if they’re suffering too. We all experience pain and pleasure. We all die. We’re all the same. But we’re not as we appear to be.

Ah! Therein lies the rub, and the rub is a good rub for us. We’re not what we appear to be. We’re not simply beings in bodies that live in houses, that drive cars, that have social security numbers and pay taxes. We are something else. We are something other than what we appear to be. This is what makes life fun. If it was just the way it looked, it would be pretty dull.

You are awareness, perception. You are mind. You’re not from this world. I mean, think about it. Could you really be from here? Shopping malls, bad TV shows. I mean, it’s just too weird out there on the street. People sitting around (Rama talks like a couch potato) “108 Channels, Madge. We got 108 channels with nothing on every one.” (Back to normal voice.)

Dead minds producing dead shows for dead people. Who needs to go to the horror movies? Just go outside or turn on the TV. Buddha called it “the nightmare of the day.” It’s all around you friends. Welcome to incarnate experience. And if you think this world is bad, you should see some of the others. Yuck!

Do you realize that the universe is endless, it doesn’t end and it doesn’t begin, it goes on forever? And do you realize that you can’t be born and can’t die, that you will exist forever in a universe that goes on forever? That’s the ultimate horror from the Zen point of view. You could be unhappy forever! You could be more unhappy than you are now. And of course, most people have no idea how unhappy they are because they don’t know what happiness is.

When they get a break from their total pain, they feel a little better and they call it happiness. I mean, it is what it is, but I see it all the time—in restaurants, in movie theatres, in offices, on the freeways, on the tennis courts. I mean, you’ve got to be kidding. This is a world of unhappy beings out here—because they don’t understand how simple it is to be happy. It’s very, very simple to be happy. You just have to practice Zen—zazen, actually, meditation. To meditate is to be free. To meditate is to be happy.

There are two kinds of meditation practice. One is formal meditation when you sit each day and meditate. A couple of times a day, stop the body, sit up straight, and practice a meditation and concentration exercise. Clear your mind of all the garbage that runs through it and enter into a higher level of perception. And in that higher level of perception, you will see life as it really is, and when you do that, you will automatically be happy. You will find that spot within yourself that is happiness. Then, when you’re not formally sitting and practicing zazen, when you’re not practicing meditation, you can do what in Zen we call mindfulness. You can be mindful, which means that the rest of the time, there’s more of a passive meditation practice. It’s passive when you’re active. When you’re shopping, you’re talking to someone, you’re riding on the subway, you’re dodging bullets, you can be meditating. That’s passive meditation when you’re active. Then there’s active meditation, when you’re passive, when you’re sitting still.

Mindfulness is passive meditation, which you practice all the time unless you’re sitting still with the back straight, in which case you’re practicing active meditation, meaning you’re completely engaged in the practice, which you can do eventually in passive meditation—when you get good at it, it becomes active meditation. But in the beginning it’s passive because your energy and your attention are divided between your actions, thoughts, your sensory data, your feelings, locomotive activities, and your practice, your meditation.

Now what is it to meditate? Well, to meditate is to be happy because meditation simply means entering into states of mind, parts of yourself or whatever it is that’s in there, which are happiness. Profound happiness, simple happiness, beautiful happiness, complicated, uncomplicated—there are lots of kinds. There are ten thousand states of mind. Ten thousand to explore and pass through, and beyond all states of mind of course is nirvana, the endless reality, perfection beyond happiness. There’s something beyond happiness.

But happiness is not bad in the meantime, I think, if you’re even around the total absorption of perfection. Happiness gets you through the day and through the night. And you don’t have to take drugs to be happy. You don’t have to drink to be happy. You don’t have to have people around you who love you to be happy. You don’t need anything—except your own mind, the integrity and clarity of your own mind. That’s all it requires. You’ve got the mind part. You just need the integrity and clarity. Meaning, you have to become a master or a mistress of your mind.

As you study your mind, as you explore it, as you meditate, as you gain control of it and sometimes lose control completely and just swim in it and dissolve in it; then you’ll become happy. Happiness is something that you can definitely achieve. At first it will just come for a moment or two, and then it will come for longer periods of time—hours, days, months, lifetimes. Eventually you’ll be happy all the time, which is not such a bad thing to do because it’s your expression or your statement of being. It’s your way of celebrating life.

Happiness then, as I suggested, is a state of mind. And the key to happiness is being able to disconnect your life from your perceptions, from the way you see things now. There are only states of mind, and you need to develop the discipline and the clarity of mind to see things as they really are. If you’re not happy, it’s because you’re in what I call illusion. Illusion means you’re not seeing things as they really are. If you saw things as they really were, you would be happy automatically. You don’t have to do anything to be happy.

Happiness is a warm puppy. In other words, happiness is the things around you. Just to see that puppy is to be happy. You don’t have to do anything; you don’t have to add anything. But if you don’t see that, if you walk by that warm puppy or you want to kick him, well, you’re not happy because you’re in a state of delusion, like most human beings are. Your job is to raise yourself out of that state of delusion, which is done by practicing meditation and concentration, learning new value systems, rejecting some old ones, by becoming sensitive to life and strong and powerful at the same time. By learning about your mind.

Happiness comes from self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is not an arbitrary phrase or a series of words. It’s something real. Self-knowledge means that you have understood your mind, which is not just a series of thoughts that you experience—there are dimensions and dimensions within your mind. Your mind is the whole universe. Your understanding of your mind will come about step by step. You’ll unfold like a flower unfolds, but only when you begin to practice meditation and detach yourself from your thoughts and experiences.

I’d like to suggest two simple exercises that I think will greatly improve your happiness. One is passive zazen and one is active zazen. Let’s do the active one first.

You should practice meditation each day, or you should start if you don’t—it’s pretty hard to be happy if you don’t do that because meditation gives you the level of control necessary to go beyond illusion. When you sit down to meditate, which I’ve discussed on other tapes and at my seminars, or many books are written about the subject so you can get the basics from those sources—but anyway, you sit down to meditate. And you’re concentrating, focusing on something, a visualization, focusing on a candle flame, trying to stop your thoughts and all the different things that are involved with the practice of meditation so you can move beyond the level of mind you’re in now into other states of mind, which is why you meditate—sort of ungluing the glue that binds you to a particular perceptual mode, a way of seeing life or the world which is an illusory one.

Sit there and smile. This is a very simple practice, but it works. Sit there with your eyes closed or open, as you’re sitting in meditation, and stop meditating for a minute. Stop trying to meditate; that’s good to do. But just smile. Let your smile get bigger and bigger. Oh, you’re unhappy, you’re miserable, nothing is working in life, doesn’t matter. Smile anyway. Practice smiling for five minutes. And feel grateful. Feel grateful for the fact that you’re alive, that you can sit and feel grateful. Feel grateful just to be, to be happy. Sound simple? Sounds facile? So is a warm puppy. So is life. Hey, if you know so much, try it. Sit and smile, for five minutes a day. At some point during your zazen practice, your meditation practice each day, take five minutes and smile—for five minutes, continuously.

You will find that as you do that—and of course while you’re smiling, it’s not just a physical smile, but you’re focusing on the feeling of the smile, of happiness—you have become much happier, that the whole world around you will glow. You’re invoking a certain state of mind, which you’ve experienced. You’ve experienced happiness at one time or another in your life. You don’t need to focus on the moments, just on the essence of happiness, because, you see, what you focus on, you become.

We become what we focus on. This is how the mind works. If you’re just focusing on unhappy things all day long, unhappy states of mind, then you will become unhappy. But if you spend time focusing on happy states of mind, hopeful states of mind, then it will grow in you.

We aren’t anything in particular. There is no “self.” There are only ideas and states of mind. You can generate whatever state of mind or ideas you would like, and that’s what you’ll live in, my friend, that’s the quality of your life—what’s inside your mind. Most people don’t generate it, they just experience whatever happens to be lying around. But in Zen, you’re going to begin to gain control of what you experience, not necessarily externally, but internally—your reaction to things.

So to start with, I’d like you to practice smiling for five minutes a day. When you practice meditation, take five minutes of the meditation and concentration practice and devote it to smiling and focusing on happiness, while you’re smiling, of course. Take five minutes of your day and practice being happy while you’re sitting in meditation, which is a very powerful time. Everything you do in meditation is amplified. If you meditate for five minutes, totally, with your complete mind focused on happiness, that’s like focusing on happiness for several hours as you’re walking around. Everything is so intensified. And that happiness will carry over into the rest of your life.

Then, the passive form, when you’re not formally meditating and sitting, is just to see beauty—beauty is happiness—and as you walk around through your day, to look at things, to feel things, to touch things, to taste things, whether it’s through your senses or through your mind. To unhook from your thoughts and all the busy things you’re doing and all the things you’re feeling and all the emotions that are shooting through you, and just to start to look at life. This is mindfulness.

In the particular form of mindfulness I would like you to practice, which is paying attention to what’s going on—that’s mindfulness, minding the store, right?—I’d like you to just look at beauty. Not just physical beauty or the beauty of things you see with your eyes, but beauty—beautiful feelings, beautiful awareness. Remember, again, there is no such thing as reality. Reality is what you make it. And in Zen, you’re learning how to make new realities, to build things inside your mind. So you need to start to focus on beauty more, all day long, and just realize how incredibly beautiful your life is. How incredibly beautiful it is to feel, to look around, to be, to experience all of this wonder.

Even when you’re in a painful situation, look at it, and if you look deeply enough and you don’t get freaked out by it, you’ll see that there’s a beauty in everything. You’ll see there’s a beauty in you. The beauty you see is just your own mind. There is no external anything. There’s only the mind and the mind is endless reality. Endless perfection.

So if you’d like to be happy for now and forever, do these two things. Focus on happiness more and more in your daily meditation, and focus on beauty—and happiness of course—in just the simple things around you. The koan is, happiness is a warm puppy. Happiness is just being you where you are right now, if you would allow yourself to be you. If you shut off all the silly thoughts and desires and crazy emotions, if you forget that you are anybody and just perform the activities around you that you need to, but look at them, watch what you’re doing, my God! Life is right in front of you, and it’s great!

But you have to take the time to see it. So slllooowww it down. “Relax, be cool,” says the Zen master. Look at the beauty. Right now, as you hear my voice, look at the beauty in front of you. Look how incredible life is, and just keep looking until you see it. You won’t see it right away; you’ve developed some bad habits. Practice. Look at the sidewalk, look at the color of the car, look at the colors of your mind. Look at your feelings, look at all the different things you can feel. Stop taking life for granted and experience it completely. You don’t experience it completely because you allow your mind and your thoughts to wander all over the place, and you don’t see what’s in front of you because you’re so distracted by your thoughts.

Think about what’s in front of you, if you must think. Look at the chair. Look at the people. Look at your hands. Feel your body when you run. When you make that business decision, enter into it completely and see that it has a power of its own. When you’re running on that athletic field, it feels good. It feels good just to be alive.

Life is just a state of mind; different states of mind. Choose a happy one.

So then, in summation, happiness comes not from external things, as we’re really taught as children. It doesn’t come from Santa Claus bringing you a good present, nor is happiness lost in unfortunate circumstances. Happiness is not dependent upon circumstance. Happiness is from within your mind. Just realizing that in itself will change your whole life. If you just meditate on that, ponder what I’ve just said—happiness does not come from external circumstances, it comes from within your own mind—then you’ll stop trying to do things to make yourself happy, and you’ll start to see that happiness is a state of mind. Because otherwise you’re a slave to circumstances.

Door Number One opens and you’re happy, and Door Number Two opens and you’re not. That’s silly. That’s the short path to hell, to inner hell. All heavens and hells are within the mind. And the mind is not just a brain. Your mind is endless; you just haven’t discovered it yet. You’re just living in small sections of it, and in the practice of Zen you can discover, of course, the rest of it.

Meditation is essential for that because meditation opens the mind to itself. You need to practice meditation every day and become very good at it, and then you’ll be in clarified states of mind in which you’ll see life as it really is, which is happy, and then during the day and at night, practice being happy. It’s something that you have to work at. It’s a new role for you. Conceiving of yourself—you need to start thinking of yourself as a person who is happy.

Redefine “you.” Oh God, life is so beautiful. Don’t let it pass you by. Don’t miss it. Don’t miss it.

Be happy. Dance with yourself, inside your mind. And focus on beauty all around you. Look at things, feel things. Stop worrying about tomorrow. Stop thinking about yesterday. Mindfulness is to be here now, in the moment. Focus on this moment. Hold your hand and see what it feels like. Go look at some grass. Talk to a palm tree. Outrun a Ferrari. Experience life. Keep your mind on what you’re doing and look at it. Keep looking until you see clearly. See the beauty of all things, which will make you happy. And for five minutes a day, sit there and practice being happy when you do meditation, when you’re practicing zazen. Smile, physically smile for five minutes, and focus on happiness. And if you do all these things, you’ll get started.

Let go a little bit. Relax. Get excited. Just see the incredible beauty of who you are. You’re beautiful. Your mind is beautiful. Your mind is made up of light. We call it the dharmakaya, the clear light of reality. (Rama playfully imitates an Irish priest) “Aye, underneath the surface of that mind, ye know, and all those thoughts and emotions and feelings, aye, Father O’Flannigan tells ye there’s light. Ah, the transcendental eternal light is everywhere, ye know, and ye’re it and it’s ye. Aye, it’s the light of God! Or whatever ye want to call it, and ye’re that, so ye just got to get to that, and ye’ll be happy all the time. So do it! Don’t make excuses, aye! That’s a good fella, that’s a good gal.” (Back to normal voice.)

So this is Rama, wishing you well, as always, and telling you that life is better than you know, but just take the time to explore your mind. Practice being happy. Work at it. It’s a new role, I realize, but you’ll get it. The auditions will be coming up very soon. So get on top of it. I’m sure you’ll get the part—a happy being in a strange and crazy, mysteriously beautiful world, only here for a while.

(Zazen music ends.)

1. For fun, Rama says “ten-five” instead of “ten-four,” meaning, OK.