“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ~ Dalai Lama
“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Are these two men saying the same thing? I’ve been rereading excerpts from the Dalai Lama’s book, The Art of Happiness. On the one hand he seems to be saying the opposite of what Abe Lincoln is saying. On the other hand I get the feeling he’s agreeing with Abe.
Hmmm. I will say one thing: Give me something simple and I will figure out a way to complicate it. Here’s what I think, though. And I’m trying to keep it simple. I think they are saying essentially the same thing. Abe was running a country and fighting a war and he probably didn’t have time to over analyze this idea. And his way of speaking is straight forward and to the point. I usually understand and do well with that type of advice.
As I understand it, the Dalai Lama’s job is to analyze and give advice with steps toward achieving the happiness that we all seek. He says we must share ourselves with others in order to be happy. Both our sadness and our joy. Our sad times are lightened and our joyful times are heightened when we share them with others. Come to think of it, I think that idea is also in the Bible. I’m pretty sure I read it there fairly recently. Can’t remember where.
So…Happiness is there for the taking. It’s all in your attitude. And it depends upon your spending time with other people–family, friends, and sometimes even people you don’t know. John Donne said, “No man is an island.” In other words, don’t isolate yourself. Interact with your fellow human beings. That’s what I think!
Oh, wow! I haven’t read Viktor Frankl in years. I think I still have a copy of “Man’s Search for Meaning.” I’m going to look for it. I remember being blown away when I read it so long ago. Thanks for reminding me.
I like Viktor Frankl’s take on happiness (and success). He says this:-
Don’t aim at success–the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run–in the long run, I say–success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.
He compares it to laugher, in that genuine laughter needs a cause (a joke or something funny), so if you want to laugh you persue humour, not the laugh itself.
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It’s a brilliant book – I’ve read it (about 8 months ago).
I strongly believe we are here to give to each other. I think our Exs have rather missed that point and could be on a taking spree! As in take what they can to keep them happy. Eventually they will probably find out that taking doesn’t ‘give’ them very much.
It is a wonderful book. I keep it nearby and open to any page from time to time. I think I really needed it when I picked it up this week. I think I have completely forgiven D. He tells me he is now trying to forgive himself. Life’s lessons are hard.
yep. and i think we are all here on this planet to connect. there is no other reason in the world, that i can think of, for humans to exist. we exist to connect with each other, with our god, and with nature. we are all connected. it is our purpose to find our own happiness on our own journey and share it with others.
reminds me of a poem i read recently on curiousgirl-lisa.blogspot.com
god speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
these are the words we dimly hear:
you, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
flare up like a flame
and make big shadows i can move in.
let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
just keep going. no feeling is final.
don’t let yourself lose me.
nearby is the country they call life.
you will know it by its seriousness.
give me your hand.
“go to the limits of your longing”, by rainer maria rilke
We’re passionate about this aren’t we, BG? I love the Rilke poem. Thanks.
By George, I think you’ve got it. I totally agree with your analysis.