2nd Thoughts on Happiness

One of my Mother’s Day gifts this year was a very special book (yes, my children know me well): “The Art of Happiness” His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler (2018).

Just one of those books that you read for a while (savour) and ponder on for a lifetime! So much is discussed in this book that touches on many of our life questions both from an Eastern Spiritual perspective and from a Western Psychological perspective (Cutler is a well-known Psychiatrist). It is a book of discussions where ancient Eastern philosophy responds calmly and intelligently to the most “restless “quest for Happiness in Western societies and cultures.

The point of interest here is the nexus Einstein and the Dalai Lama have in a very similar view concerning Happiness. The Dalai Lama takes this further by giving a greater depth of meaning to the role of “calmness” and how it nurtures Happiness and a positive frame of mind:

“So leaving aside the perspective of spiritual practice, even in worldly terms, in terms of our enjoying a happy day-to-day existence, the greater the level of calmness of our mind, the greater our peace of mind, the greater our ability to enjoy a Happy and joyful life” (pp.24,25).
The Dalai Lama paused at this point (so as to allow the idea to settle) and then added:

“Having a calm or peaceful state of mind doesn’t mean being totally spaced out or completely empty. Peace of mind or a calm state of mind is rooted in affection and compassion. There is a very high level of sensitivity and feeling there” (p.25).

The Dalai Lama progresses further into the “how” to achieve Happiness and Contentment by simply drawing our focus away from what we want but rather to want and appreciate what we have.

So, in reflection what is being said here is; focusing on our mental outlook is more effective for achieving happiness than seeking it through external sources – and this is exactly what Einstein was implying. Theme of calmness continues.

Perhaps this sounds a little simplistic considering today’s societal demands or is this the way to a truly rich and meaningful life?

That is for you to ponder on in your quiet times – with you.

May you find what you are really seeking.