in a post that was a regrettably long time ago, i mentioned that i was going to delve into a book by his holiness, the dalai lama: the art of happiness.
it was a lengthy endeavor, but a worthwhile one, in my opinion. the book covers a lot of ground and helps translate traditional buddhist beliefs into practical applications for everyday life. i found myself scribbling notes frequently, not wanting to forget any of the lessons. i could certainly read this book again and learn 100 new things without a problem, but because life is so short, i’m going to move on and savor the bullets below as the most vital:
– anger, impatience, frustration and hatred are counterproductive emotions that can be successfully counteracted with patience, understanding and flexibility.
– most people have developed an inability to cope with suffering because as soon as suffering occurs, we do everything in our power to eliminate it. there is a “fix” for every inconvenience/problem in today’s world, so as a result, we have heightened our sensitivity to suffering and decreased our skills to strategically deal with it.
– as an extension of the above, frequently we “deal” with suffering by repressing/ignoring/forgetting it. this is not effective, and leads to depression and a deepened sense of anger or frustration.
– when anger or frustration (suffering is a common word used to encapsulate all these kinds of negative emotions/reactions) occurs, a common and natural reaction is to “vent” and continue to discuss it. this only leads to self-perpetuated/created suffering without sufficient resolution.
– all humans are equal because all humans want and deserve to be happy. if we can remember this simple and basic fact, we will be much more likely to empathize and have compassion for everyone around us.
as i said, the book contains so much more; i couldn’t possibly outline everything in one blog post. i encourage you to read it for yourself, especially if you have any interest in buddhism, meditation or simply increasing awareness about your own emotions and happiness. there are several suggested meditations in the book as well that i have been using as a starting point for my own practice. i would offer to loan it out, but i got it from the library!
any other books on buddhism, meditation or any of the above topics you recommend?