When you look at a painting, you admire the style and the colours, but it doesn’t teach you how to paint. That can only happen if you apply yourself to the study of painting. Sketches and unfinished paintings teach you more. Highly polished monumental work, less. It is the same with books on philosophy; You need to practise it rather than read monumental works.
Moods are like the weather. Philosophy can give you the weather forecast. No philosophy can make the mind perfectly happy and at peace, because the mind has capacity for a wide range of violent emotion. It has its cycles, passing trough all that drama.
You need to be clear about your choices because the universe will challenge them. Other people will challenge you, they will test the strength of your conviction, and some will try to undermine it. Events outside of your control will try to take over your life, they will turn it into misery; Your own mind will challenge you. Often you will plunge into confusion, making it hard to remember what is good and important.
Sometimes you suffer, this shows you are doing something wrong. Something needs change. Look at what you are doing, does it make sense? People cause themselves suffering without even knowing it; You are your own cause.
Sometimes we have moments of insight, and things make sense. This is bliss. It is a good thing, but you shouldn’t fool yourself that you have arrived at some final destination. When you moment of insight is gone you start wondering what went wrong this time. Then you have a moment of weakness. It is human nature to be in constant change. No living creature and no state of mind lasts forever.
The legend has it that Buddha reached the highest state of liberation during seated meditation under the Bodhi tree. But even after this happened he continued meditating until the end of his life. We have to persist in whatever we do; The point of life can’t be „achieving” some state, because no state of mind is permanent. You keep on going. Taoists put it very well, „The way is infinite, it’s use is never exhausted.”
Philosophers say this is a struggle against the absurdity of the world. It doesn’t have to be struggle. But the meaning you find for yourself will be challenged. All sorts of obstacles, small ones, as well as big ones will occur. You just walk the way, and stick to the things that are meaningful to you.
Walking the way is about cultivating your mind. The mind is changeable, so make it good change. If you are not changing for better, you are changing for worse. Therefore, it is important to use every opportunity to increase good qualities, and to remove bad ones. What is necessary is the attitude of improving at every opportunity and learning.
Walking the way is about cultivating your environment as well. The mind doesn’t exist in isolation. It is functioning inside a physical environment. Therefore, it makes sense to cultivate that space. In cultivating the physical environment make it safe, free of ill feelings and associations, peaceful, and convenient for work. These things can greatly increase the capacity for work.
The mind is slippery. It is good to create for yourself reminders; Reminders in your mind, and also reminders in the physical world. Such is the nature of people; They forget.