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The Art of Happiness July 11, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Mindfulness.

In The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama shares his belief that the purpose of life is to seek happiness, and that the motion of our life is towards happiness.

What you attain in life is largely irrelevant to this quest for happiness.

Instead, how you view the world determines your happiness.

Happiness is never in things . . . it is in us.

Our mental state has a tremendous influence on how we experience our daily life.

The greater our peace of mind, the greater our ability to enjoy a happy, joy-filled life.

By re-training the mind, we can transform our entire outlook on life, and our approach to living, in a way that adds to the daily happiness in our lives, even if nothing in our external situation changes.

The way to greater happiness and peace of mind is basic, just three steps:

1. Identify factors leading to happiness, and those leading to suffering.
2. Eliminate those that lead to suffering.
3. Cultivate those that lead to happiness.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

In truth, the process is simple. But, to master the technique, we must practice, practice, practice.

No rules. Just write!

What about you?  Do you practice the art of happiness ~ weeding out thoughts that lead to suffering while cultivating those that lead to happiness?


1. Piglet in Portugal - July 11, 2011

My state of “Happiness” is managing things that annoy me so they don’t overshadow what is really important! 😉 I am gradually learning to live for the here and now rather than shoulder past greviences with friends and family.

I believe you almost have to develop a second skin, almost an invisible barrier so other peoples battles do not become yours…in the past I’ve been pulled in all directions, but I’m gradually learnng to detach myself from negative thoughts. Honest! 🙂

Everyone knows the prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisodm to know the difference.

Maybe not the exact wording…but the principle is there.

Do you think we need a purpose in life to be happy and content?


nrhatch - July 11, 2011

Wonderful points, PiP.

* Some people are so focused on the 10% of life that annoys them that they miss the other 90%. Where we aim the focus of our thoughts determines whether we are cultivating happiness or creating unnecessary suffering.

* When negativity is swirling around us, we can take a step back and OBSERVE it unfolding with alert curiosity. When we step into the role of detached observer, we disengage from the fray while remaining alert and aware.

* The Serenity Prayer is wonderful advice. Sometimes the “what is” IS ~ the rain keeps falling no matter how much we shake our fists at the sky.

* Our purpose in life is to be happy and content. Happiness is the goal behind all goals ~ if we are moving in the direction of happiness . . . we are living our purpose.

Judson - July 11, 2011

I love the Serenity Prayer … just about the perfect philosophy to live by.

nrhatch - July 11, 2011

Acceptance of things outside our control frees up our energy for changing the only thing we have control over . . . ourselves. 😀

Master your thoughts. Master your life.

2. Tilly Bud - July 11, 2011

Sounds like hard work 🙂

nrhatch - July 11, 2011

But it’s worth it . . . after all, our freedom is at stake. 😎

3. misswhiplash - July 11, 2011

The Dalai Lama seems to hit the nail straight on the head. Sharp fella that one.we should all listen to what he has to say

nrhatch - July 11, 2011

Through mindfulness, we wake up. We become aware of all the ways that WE have been sabotaging our own happiness and adding to our suffering.

As we gain awareness of the thoughts we’ve been broadcasting, we learn to “change the channel” and see the world anew.

We stop watching “stale re-runs” and reclaim the remote.

As we master our thoughts, we master our lives. Namaste.

4. gitikapartington - July 11, 2011

thanks again x

nrhatch - July 11, 2011

You’re welcome. We are here to be happy and to increase happiness in others. 😀

5. Judson - July 11, 2011

I have only recently begun to become acquainted with Buddhism. What’s the best “primer” for a newbie who wants to become aware of the essentials?

nrhatch - July 11, 2011

I don’t know, Judson. My focus has been on finding ways to cultivate happiness, not on becoming a Buddhist.

Many Buddhist practices are aimed at mindful awareness through meditation, which adds to our happiness. As a result, I’ve read several books by Buddhists, including: Lama Surya Das, Jon Kabat Zinn, The Dalai Lama, etc. The BEST book for me might not be the BEST place for you to start.

I went to the library and wandered around the “happiness” section. On each visit, certain books attracted my attention. Those are the ones I read.

Here are a few of them:

Each of the 13 books on the list is linked to a post about it.

Strive to be happy!

6. Cindy - July 11, 2011

Going to make the effort.

nrhatch - July 11, 2011

Be Here Now. 😀

7. SuziCate - July 11, 2011

Yes, it is a continuous process.

nrhatch - July 11, 2011

So true. Something happens. We get annoyed. Ego jumps into the driver’s seat . . . taking us on a “happiness detour” as it laments all the ways that people, places, and things are not to our liking.

Until we remember to put on the brakes and eject Ego from the driver’s seat. 😉

8. libraryscene - July 12, 2011

I tell ya, if I could listen to him everyday, I would be a happier person, Nancy. Ironically, I just wrote (literally) to someone about seeing him last year at a peace conference. The man exudes such a lovely, happy spirit! The energy of that arena was AMAZING.

Thanks for the reminder…time to pick up this book again ~

nrhatch - July 12, 2011

People exude positive or negative energy.

When I am around people exuding negative energy, I feel the life getting sucked right out of me. When I am around positive people, I feel re-energized.

One thing I do . . . jettison “energy drains” as soon as possible.

9. granny1947 - July 12, 2011

Excellent post…now let me think about what makes me happy!

nrhatch - July 12, 2011

I’ll start your list for you: Chocolate. Jasmine. Max. Pizza. Strolls on the beach. 😀

10. Julie - July 13, 2011

I have this book, but haven’t read it yet, but I wholeheartedly agree with the premise. In every moment, we make a choice between happiness and suffering. The more we practice choosing happiness, the easier it is to be happy.

nrhatch - July 13, 2011

Most of our thoughts are habitual ~ residing as they do in well worn grooves. When we watch them a bit more carefully, and hear what they’ve been telling us for days, weeks, months, and years, we are in a position to challenge any statement that is not true . . . and plant a different thought to sow at a later date.

Definitely a book worth reading in front of the fire this winter. .

11. eof737 - July 17, 2011

Sounds easy, process is simple…but…it’s work. 😉
I loved that book and bought/read my copy when it came out and should dig up my copy again. 🙂

nrhatch - July 17, 2011

The concepts are so easy:

* pay attention
* don’t believe everything you think
* let go of non-productive thoughts
* be awake
* be aware
* keep your eyes, ears, and heart open

Aah . . . that’s better.

12. A Cluster of Chaotic Threads | Spirit Lights The Way - March 2, 2014

[…] agree with the Dalai Lama . . . we are here to be happy.   When we are happy where we are, moving seems to be both a counter-productive and […]

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