Thursday, January 08, 2009

The art of happiness

A daisy against the sky. Katy Prairie Preserve, Texas.
Copyright (c) 2005 Wendee Holtcamp

I'm reading, or more technically listening to, The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. I've never really read much about the Dalai Lama, so I was curious. Cutler interviewed the Dalai Lama extensively about happiness, after meeting him and hearing that he said, "I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness." Cutler was curious what this would look like in practical terms in a modern 21st century world. What do you think about that idea? I think it is interesting. He says that although it may initially seem like a selfish endeavor to seek happiness, that research shows that happy people who tend to give more to others, to uplift others, to be more healthy and generous. On the other hand, depressed people can drain others and be more self-centered as they focus on their problems.

There were some other interesting tidbits but to be honest I can't remember right now! I took some notes, and will post about it again in the future. I just thought the bit about happiness being the purpose of life was interesting. He also says that happiness is not just pleasure, but that with everything that causes happiness you have to look not just at the immediate feelings, but the long-term consequences. He says that some things may cause temporary pleasure but have horrible long-term consequences that take away from the pursuit of your happiness.

Seeking happiness - or perhaps joy is a better word - has been something I have sought after for a long time. I'm not sure it's the ultimate purpose of life, but I do believe it is one of them. Even Jesus said he came so we could have life, and have it to the full.

On another note, this has always been one of my favorite Bible passages, but I usually read the New International Version (NIV). When I read this in The Message Bible, I liked it even more! I thought I'd share:

John 4:22-24 (The Message)

But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you're called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. "It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration."

I am the walrus! goo goo g'joob! This was at East Cafe in Humble when my best friend Daline came into town!

1 comment:


Mark Twain:

Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.