Happiness is something everyone desires. Yet how to find happiness–or even if we deserve to–remains a mystery. Still more mysterious is the secret to a lasting happiness that cannot be taken away. In The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, bestselling author Deepak Chopra shows us seven keys to uncover the true secrets of joy in the most difficult times.
The Ultimate Happiness
The purpose of life is the expansion of happiness. Happiness is the goal of every other goal. Most people are under the impression that happiness comes from becoming successful, accumulating wealth, being healthy, and having good relationships. There is certainly enormous pressure to believe that these accomplishments are the same as achieving happiness. However, this is a mistake. Success, wealth, good health, and nurturing relationships are by-products of happiness, not the cause.
When you are happy, you are more likely to make choices that lead to all these things. The reverse isn’t true.
Leading researchers in the new field of positive psychology, in particular professors Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ed Diener, and Martin Seligman, came up with what they call the happiness formula. These researchers found three specific factors that could be quantified in a simple equation:
HAPPINESS: SET POINT + CONDITIONS OF LIVING + VOLUNTARY ACTIVITIES
There is a better way to reach the goal.
Causes linked to suffering and the happiness it causes
In the Vedic and Buddhist traditions of ancient India, five main causes were linked to suffering and the happiness it causes:
- Not knowing your true identity.
- Clinging to the idea of permanence in a world that is inherently impermanent.
- Fear of change.
- Identifying with the socially induced hallucination called the ego.
- Fear of death.
Life has changed tremendously over the centuries, but these sources of suffering have not, so until we solve them, even the most powerful drugs, the most loving upbringing, and the most selfless efforts to make others happy won’t really work. The happiness formula doesn’t address the real ills of human existence, which we all experience. To be alive is to fear change, cling to the ego and its false promises, and fear the arrival of death. We ponder in confusion the most simple, basic question: Who am I?
The seven keys to happiness
The seven keys to happiness could also be called the seven keys to enlightenment. They consist of simple, everyday things to consider and do. No drastic change in lifestyle is required. You don’t have to tell anyone else that you are on the path to enlightenment. But others will observe that you are becoming happier and more fulfilled.
The process that leads to enlightenment is gradual and requires patience, but fortunately the very act of seeking it yields fruit right here and now. Any step you take toward your core consciouness–your ground state, your true self–obliterates some causes of unhappiness in your life. At the same time, the innate happiness that is your birthright with blossom. Thus you are on a twofold path: to eliminate darkness and to bring on the light.
- Be aware of your body.
- Find true self-esteem.
- Detoxify your life.
- Give up being right.
- Focus on the present.
- See the world in yourself.
- Live for enlightenment.