On Facebook this morning, October 8, 2013, the Dalai Lama posted the following message.
“I usually say the aim of life is to be happy. Our existence is based on hope. Our life is rooted in the opportunity to be happy, not necessarily wealthy, but happy within our own minds. If we only indulge in sensory pleasure, we’ll be little different from animals. In fact, we have this marvelous brain and intelligence; we must learn to use it.”
There will be live webcasts of the Dalai Lama's talks during his visit to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on October 8-10, 2013.
The Dalai Lama provides great insights. Happiness is more than just feeling happy. It often takes action with a purpose to achieve and maintain happiness. Happiness can be found in what appears to be doing nothing. Happiness can be found in intense effort. It can be found under a lot of different situations.
Listening to running water, observing a sunrise or sunset, standing in the rain or snow, these all have us appear to be doing nothing. It is the awareness of the moment and the gratitude of the uniqueness of the occurrence that makes us happy.
Awareness and gratitude are the foundations of our ability to appreciate the miracles of the universe. Enjoying the wonders of the world around us is a major source of happiness.
Awareness of reality in a non-threatening way is another source of happiness. As spiritualists, we enjoy freedom from the fear of a vindictive God that condemns us to an eternity of suffering. One of the nine spiritual principles is “No person is ever beyond redemption.” Spiritualists are not going to hell forever for being the human beings that God created. We do experience the results of our actions.
The Dalai Lama’s statement that we have a brain and we need to use it places the responsibility for our happiness on each of us. Most of us have the ability to recognize our life situations and do things to make ourselves happier.
The following wisdom is attributed to Richard Niebuhr, an American theologian.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
There are mental and physical conditions that may prevent us from making the choices to change what we need to change in our lives to be happy. Happiness requires faith and trust. Without faith and trust, we live our lives in fear. Fear is a major source of unhappiness. Accepting that all things work for the universal good, now or later, is a path to happiness.
In addition to making changes and accepting what we cannot change, another source of happiness is serving others. Serving others takes us away for thinking about what we don’t have and puts the focus on helping others get what they want or need.
Service to others doesn’t have to be complicated or grand. It is often just a small gesture or action that makes someone’s life easier. The greatest service is often just making the other person aware that someone does care about them.
The happiest people are those that realize their life purpose, appreciate the common miracles around them, and have faith that things are working according to a divine plan. The admonishment to wake up and smell the roses is good advice. Use your life to help yourself be happy, and to help others do the same.
Dan Gilbert has done scientific studies on happiness. His TEDx presentation on happiness is attached to this article. It is worth viewing. We all have the ability within our brains to be happy. He says that we need to be able to synthesize our happiness. Watch the video. If it doesn’t make you happy, it will make you think.