Book Review: ‘The Art of Happiness’ by H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama

The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living
What else needs to be said about a classic?  This book literally changed my life.  When I first read the book I was in a really bad spot in my life and need to “change my perspective” and sure enough this book taught me how.

The 10th chapter of the book is entitled “Shifting Perspective”.  His Holiness explains his philosophy on perspective as such “The ability to look at events from different perspectives can be very helpful.  Then, practicing this, one can use certain experiences, certain tragedies to develop a calmness of mind.  One must realize that every phenomena, every event, has different aspects.  Everything is of a relative nature.”  He goes on to explain that allowing our perspective to be so narrow and self-center just furthers our problems and doesn’t allow us to see solutions.

The book, in my opinion, is required reading for anyone.  It isn’t a Buddhist book, it’s a wonderful self discovery book written by a psychiatrist and a monk.  The discussions are incredibly relevant to our busy, over-loaded society where issues of anxiety, depression, anger far outweigh those instances of true sublime happiness.  We all need to learn this Art of Happiness. ~ Digging_the _Dharma

Sickness, old age, mishaps of one sort or another are the same for us all

I feel that an individual whose actions are motivated by the wish to bring others happiness necessarily meets with less misfortune that one who does not.

Sickness, old age, mishaps of one sort or another are the same for us all. But the sufferings which undermine our internal peace – anxiety, doubt, disappointment – these are definitely less. ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

Much of the heaviness…

“The fourth reminder is to awaken lovingkindness. This is the ability to bring nonjudgmental awareness from the heart to the unwanted aspects of “me.”

This reminder can’t be overemphasized. It’s so natural to want to confirm what is most negative about ourselves that we don’t even think about activating compassion or kindness.

In fact, much of the heaviness of our distress comes from the belief that we should be different.

Especially after practicing for a few years, we think we shouldn’t still be so reactive. We think we should be beyond our conditioning. But practice doesn’t work that way.

Yet when we soften our self-judgment with lovingkindness, the sense of drama and heaviness lightens considerably. ” ~ Bursting the Bubble of Fear by Ezra Bayda (Tricycle article) Please read the entire article here . It is well worth your time, at least in my opinion.

I chose this quote because it brought to mind recent conversations. Some of the conversations were with friends and family and some were within myself.

Being gentle & loving with ourselves …we can be gentle & loving with others.

Namaste and Enjoy your moments!

Healthy Mental & Emotional growth

For healthy mental and emotional growth, we need a gentle, skillful, balanced approach, avoiding extremes.

If we are becoming arrogant and self-important, the antidote is to think about our own problems and sufferings, to bring us down to earth.

But if we are feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, helpless and depressed, it’s important to reflect on our positive qualities or achievements to uplift our minds. ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

Meditation Should Be Joyful

When explaining meditation, the Buddha often drew analogies with the skills of artists, carpenters, musicians, archers, and cooks. Finding the right level of effort, he said, is like a musician’s tuning of a lute. Reading the mind’s needs in the moment—to be gladdened, steadied, or inspired—is like a palace cook’s ability to read and please the tastes of a prince.

Collectively, these analogies make an important point: Meditation is a skill, and mastering it should be enjoyable in the same way mastering any other rewarding skill can be. The Buddha said as much to his son, Rahula: “When you see that you’ve acted, spoken, or thought in a skillful way—conducive to happiness while causing no harm to yourself or others—take joy in that fact and keep on training. ~ Thanissaro Bhikkhu

This daily dharma came to me today and as always, was right on time.

Most of the time, we feel like we should be ‘the best’ or dare I say it, ‘perfect,’ from the start of anything we attempt to do.

Those feelings of ‘should be’ keep us from learning, growing, and becoming the true person we are.

Meditation is a skill (as stated above). So how can I expect to be ‘good’ at anything if I do not practice?

It takes Practice.