The Art of Happiness

The Dali Lama makes it clear from page one in his book “The Art of Happiness”, that he believes the very purpose of life is to seek happiness.

He agrees it is not that simple to be happy all the time- but we need to train our minds to be happy. I agree with this as I have proved to myself that this can be done. I do agree too that it is not a case of once you find it you stay in a happy state forever- but it certainly helps to learn what makes you happy and remind your self constantly.  After reading “The Miracle Morning” , I trained myself to have a morning routine which raised my energy, my vibration and started my day off with me being my best self ( by using mediation, affirmations, visualization,exercise,reading and journalling.)

The Dali Lami explains he does not mean training the mind as in one’s cognitive ability or intellect ,but rather the spirit- intellect, feeling, heart and mind.

He says education is the most important thing because it teaches us discipline and that is what is needed to train the mind to keep coming back to its happy place.. We know what things make us happy and what causes us suffering, so why do we continue to do things that make us unhappy? Why not simply eliminate them from our lives and only do what makes us happy?  Discipline is the key. For me that especially rings true with my morning routine- I love my affirmations, my reading and journalling but when it comes to exercise I really have to push myself. I know how great I feel afterwards and when my mind is making up excuses – that trained mind of mine reminds me that exercise makes me feel happy afterwards.

“..Whether we live a day, or a century, a central questions always remains: What is the purpose of our life? What makes our lives meaningful?”  Howard C Cutler who co-wrote this book asks, ” But isn’t a life based on seeking personal happiness by nature self-centered, even self-indulgent? ”

Well, he explains that it has actually been proven that it is the unhappy people who are more socially withdrawn and more self-focused. Happier people are more sociable, creative, and can handle life’s frustrations easier. They are also found to be more loving and forgiving. It can also be contagious- there is proof that by watching a kind act your mood can be boosted and serotonin released as if you had done the good deed yourself. Happiness, being of service, kindness, and compassion are what the Dali Lama says are key.

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”- give love, give time, give money, give praise. We came into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing, so give all you can and the universe matches your vibration by giving you more back! Make connections. People and the moments with them will make you happy not objects and status- that makes your ego happy!

 We can be at peace when our actions are in line with our beliefs and values.
The Dali Lama talks about perception being a main cause in the pursuit of happiness, which is what he says is our purpose in life. In the Art of happiness he says it is not about the eternal factors at all but rather how satisfied we are with what we have. If you get a raise at work or a better car, what comes next- you want more! The ego gets in the way.
So what can shift our perception and help us to feel satisfied? This has been talked about by so many great influential people and also by studies at universities. A common answer: GRATITUDE, by asking yourself if things could be worse! The Dali Lama says in order to achieve inner contentment, we need to let go of the wanting everything that we don’t have, and to rather want and appreciate what we do have!
Dr Shefali  talks about how important self worth is and the effects it can have on our lives and our children. The Dali Lama mentions this too-  if we loose a job- which some people think defines them- then as long as we have something else, another source of worth like compassion, kindness and connection with others that give us a sense of dignity, another anchor – we are less likely to get depressed when the fortune disappears.
Nothing in the external world is guaranteed, the world is an ocean of motion, everything is constantly changing. By remembering that and not trying to have too much control we can start to take things a little more lightly which might help us feel more happy. As Dr Shefali cleverly puts it – we can either think life is happening to us or for us! As long as we find routines and ways to lift our souls, our outer world will be a reflection of our inner world- a calm and joyful space to exist in.
My next post will be on how we can learn to let things happen in life while at the same time making them happen.
Thanks for reading ,
Taryn

xxx

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