To hear a Buddhist Monk teacher tell his class to “Be Haaaaappeeee” brings a chuckle to his audience and it serves as a reminder to me that one way to happiness is to get rid of negativity. Why do people look for something that will make them happy when they are unhappy? I understand, they are looking to change their attitude or mood but why concentrate on “Finding Happiness”?
Will ice cream make you happy? And what happens when it is all gone? It is a short term fix. How about a vacation? Eventually the vacation ends. New cell phone? But what happens when the joy of something new becomes old? If you keep looking for short term happiness, you never address the real problem.
I contend that the best source of future happiness is dealing with the unhappiness. What is making you unhappy? If you could find the source of your unhappiness and work to improve it, you won’t need to find new ways to make yourself happy. You will be satisfied with yourself. You won’t be on that emotional roller coaster of… Haaappeee~~~Saaaaad~~~Haaapppeee~~~Saaaaad.
But finding out what makes you unhappy will take some work. A good place to start would be my blog: Take The One Week Challenge. I have been at this for about a year and it takes conscious ongoing practice. That mean you need to practice and keep reminding yourself where you want to be. I find that some weeks are really busy and I stray from my goal a bit but then I realize I have strayed and focus back on the conscious ongoing practice. As my many early blog posts can attest to, I still “critique” other drivers! But I do remind myself that that is a source of my unhappiness and find different ways to direct my thoughts.
I also find the best way to make the world around you better, is by making others happy. In my line of work, from time to time, I deal with some unhappy people. Their unhappiness would make me feel negative and it made for a miserable work experience. Thanks to practicing being positive and looking for ways to eliminate unhappiness, I was able to turn my way of thinking around. Certainly these people can be unhappy, they are facing deadlines, they need my help, THEY ARE SUFFERING! I may have told this story before but I work with a lady who is a bit gruff. She always seems unhappy and she has a negative disposition. For about two months I went out of my way to assist her where I could. As she would get out of her car with her work items, lunch, coffee..etc, I would ask to assist her. On other occasions that we arrived at work the same time, I held both entry doors for her. I smiled and greeted her. One day something changed. I had assisted her bringing in some packages into the office. I was just doing what I had been doing all along but on this day, she passed by my desk, smiled (first time I saw her smile) and she said thank you! It was a great feeling that the actions I had taken made a difference. I improved my day by improving her day. It is hard doing this on a grand scale like an office environment because there are so many different personalities but I’m trying to focus the same way as I did with the “gruff” lady. Hmm, improving your life through improving the lives of others! Try it!
My next few blogs, I will go through some of my notes from my classes and dharma talks and I will highlight and give my own spin on those teachings.
For now, I leave you with a quote someone mentioned this past week that really got me thinking:
“You can’t have a good day without a good mind”