Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, the very purpose of our life is happiness, the very motion of our life is towards happiness.
In The Art of Happiness the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day depression, anxiety, anger, jealousy, or just an ordinary bad mood. He discusses relationships, health, family, and work to show us how to ride through life’s obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace.
The pursuit of happiness
The Dalai Lama believes that the pursuit of happiness is important. Unhappy people are often more self-focused, antagonistic and less able to tolerate life’s daily frustrations.
At this moment we have a mind, which is all the basic equipment we need to achieve complete happiness.
The brain can design new patterns, combinations, and wiring according to new thoughts and experiences. The brain is constantly adapting and developing. By mobilizing our thoughts and practicing new ways of thinking, we can reshape our nerve cells and change the way our brain works (forming new neural circuits).
Thus, training the mind for happiness becomes a very real possibility. Bringing about discipline within one’s mind is the essence of the Buddha’s teaching.
[bluebox] Being honest with oneself and others about what you are or are not capable of doing can counteract the feeling of lack of self-confidence. [/bluebox]
The resiliency of the human spirit
By adopting a flexible, malleable approach to life, we can maintain our composure even in the most restless and turbulent conditions. It is through our efforts to achieve a flexible mind that we can nurture the resiliency of the human spirit.
The ability to reduce our value system to its most basic elements that allows us the greatest freedom and flexibility to deal with the vast array of problems that confront us on a daily basis.
We must begin our search for meaning when things are going well
A tree with strong roots can withstand the most violent storm, but the tree can’t grow roots just as the storm appears on the horizon.
[bluebox]When anger does come, actively challenge it, analyze it logically and reappraising the thoughts that trigger the anger can help dissipate it.[/bluebox]
The virtuous states of mind
All of the virtuous states of mind–compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, caring and so on–are genuine Dharma, or genuine spiritual qualities, because all of these internal mental qualities cannot coexist with ill feelings or negative states of mind.
Strive for penetrating intelligence without artifice, kindness without excessive sentimentality, humor without frivolousness, the ability to inspire rather than awe.
Complement The Art of Happiness with Flow, the secret to happiness, about the state of total immersion in a task that is challenging yet closely matched to one’s abilities, and Nathaniel Branden on happiness.