Friday, September 14, 2007


As I read the book The Art of Happiness, a compilation of interviews granted to psychiatrist Howard Cutler by the Dalai Lama, I am amazed at how the spiritual leader handles life's never-ending dramas and battles.

He claims that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. Such a mundane mission if one may think. As we continue to live in this world and meet different kinds of people, experiencing different kinds of obstacles, our purpose in life can be shaped and molded by these occurrences.

Happiness is defined as a state of well-being and contentment. Or a pleasurable experience. Winning an award brings happiness. So does making a lot of money. But this particular source of happiness is not the one emphasized by the well-known spiritual leader. Happiness should not come from these tangible things because this type is classified as impermanent things. They come and go. They give temporary pleasure. Impermanence causes suffering more than happiness.

According tho the Dalai Lama, happiness should come from one's self. Within one's self. Beginning from the mind, by changing one's perspective, the way one sees other people's ways and actions and the way one interprets certain unforseen events. Focusing on the brighter side always, may help one overcome life's challenges. It is easier to work out any problem when one sees it as an opportunity to discover other possibilities that will help him rise above the situation. The result is utmost satisfaction in life. Similar to achieving happiness.

It is really surprising that there is one person who can mingle with many people of different race, religion, attitude and yet exhibits the kind of gentleness and kindness only God can possess. He revealed that having these traits is inherent in him and in other people as well. In fact, he stressed that every person is naturally gentle, calm and kind and being rude, bad and vulgar may be the result of some outside forces or misuse of human intelligence.

Really, when we see our enemies, we perceive them as 100% evil. No amount of kindness nor gentleness runs in their blood. But the Dalai Lama will always refuse to focus on the imperfections of man. He will always reflect on the person's positive side because it will be easier for him to communicate when he dwells on one's good side. This paves the way to a better, harmonious relationship according to him.

The Dalai Lama would like to point out that each of us has a way or can get away from a bad circumstance. He added that we should be thankful for the difficulties each of us is facing. It is a kind of test for us. Seeing this kind of circumstance as a chance to improve one's self, purify one's mind, it is an indication that one is moving forward and willing to open up one's self to others.

This kind of mental discipline not only applies to our relationship with other people but also to our everyday situations wherein we are faced with difficulties and different human problems.

Seek happiness that is lasting and not temporary. Truly, there is no guarantee that material things such as money, cars, jewelries and even loved ones can give us lasting happiness. Happiness can only be found within ourselves. It has to come from us. Only when we are able to work on our inner selves can we gain the wisdom that will lead us to the kind of happiness that we should seek in our lives.

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