Happiness Part 1

Posted: 11/08/2009 in Happiness

Considering all that I have been through over the last few months, one factor of my life that has constantly been on my mind is happiness. For many years, I have not truly been happy, due to many tragedies that I have experienced. I won’t get into any details, but since the year 2000, I have gone through a divorce, my father passed away, I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure and had open heart surgery, lost one of my twin boys to Cerebral Palsy, and am now going through a second divorce.

For many years, I have not made the conscious decision that I deserve to be happy, and to be quite honest, I don’t really know how to be happy. After going through all of these experiences, my way of dealing with them has been to close myself off, internalize my pain, and unfortunately drive away those closest to me, which was unintentional. Of course, I have done many things with my loved ones that make me happy, but as with all things, there is the factor of impermanence. The fun times only last so long, and then it’s back to reality; such as the vacation is over and you have to go back to work, and feeling completely free from the confines of everyday life, bills, and responsibilities comes to an end. It is at that point where life started to wear on me. Anxiety, worry, and stress were all my normal emotions, which were manifested as irritability, and even anger, and making my loved ones feel completely unloved by me.

I have realized that the real problem lies within myself and how I react to the stresses of life. Coming to that conclusion, I decided to educate myself and make personal changes to my philosophy of life and how I view the world and my place in it.

At this time, I am reading The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. A few things I have learned are as follows:

1. Our purpose in life is to seek happiness: The source of happiness in our lives is how we perceive our situation and how satisfied we are with what we have and finding contentment. We can achieve contentment by not having what we want, but to want and appreciate what we have.

2. Happiness vs. Pleasure: True happiness relates to the mind and heart. Happiness that depends on physical pleasure is unstable and impermanent, such as the vacation mentioned earlier.

3. We must have mental discipline: we need to identify and cultivate positive mental states and identify and eliminate negative mental states. An undisciplined mind brings about suffering, which is also impermanent, but it’s how we react to the suffering and deal with it is how we can achieve happiness in any situation.

4. The practice of Dharma is a constant battle within, replacing previous negative conditioning and habits with new positive conditioning.

I will address more insights I have learned so far from this book in Happiness Part 2. As always, comments are welcome!

  1. […] 8, 2009 at 12:58 am (Happiness) In my first post on Happiness, I addressed a few key concepts that relate to being happy that I have learned from reading The Art […]

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