Achieving happiness in a busy life
It is sometimes difficult to explain why many people do what they do. The actions that they take, under scrutiny of logic, if self fulfilment and happiness is their goal, do not align in any way.
When you begin to study the mind, yours, that of others, and academically, and practice using your mind at a serious, and consistent level, you begin to see more clearly, and actually feel the tangible, lasting and powerful effect.
Many people I observe in sport, business, and life in general seem to be seeking happiness, but if asked what it means to be happy, struggle to give any kind of meaningful answer. This process of self analysis and of raising their own awareness of themselves is powerful in itself.
Many give answers such as 'well, I would be confident' or 'I would just be happy'. The truth is that everyone is confident in something, its' just that some of the things people are confident about are not helping them or leading to their happiness.
I mean, someone may say or feel that they are not good enough, or that they feel like an imposter, or a fraud, or that they have got to where they are through luck or chance. They are fully confident in these destructive ideas, despite the fact that they have no evidence to support them.
Even the word happiness comes from the Icelandic word 'happ' meaning luck or chance, so it may be understandable why people just want to be happy, without a true feeling understanding of what that means for them, or any idea how to go about creating happiness for themselves.
Something I have taken from HH The Dalai Lama, practiced, and completely agree with, is his definition of what makes people happy.
Academic research, and Scientific studies consistently conclude that there is no link between material things and feelings of happiness. Whether a person has experienced amazing highs like millionaire lottery winners, or extreme lows such as multiple amputation of limbs, after the initial period of adjustment, they return to their own previous baseline of happiness.
The longest study in behaviour, conducted in the USA and still active has followed people for 75 years, and concluded that people who have strong personal relationships and are happy in themselves, live longer, more successful, and healthier lives, and those who suffer the negative effects of stress, anxiety, depression etc. die earlier and are less successful in business.
The problem with relying on external things to control your feelings of happiness is that feelings associated with material things are temporary, transient and fleeting. For example, if you rely on money to feed your happiness, that's great when you have it, however, if you don't have it, you are unhappy again.
If you are relying on other people to feed your happiness, when other people let you down, you are again in a state of unhappiness.
So this means that you are ultimately placing the control of your feelings outside of yourself, which means you are not in control, and this lack of control is one of the most disturbing feelings that people experience.
It can be a threat to your personal feelings of security, breeding uncertainty, and fear and doubt are allowed access to your emotions and your imagination creating many problems.
If you decide to commit to bringing your feelings of happiness under your control, it doesn't matter what happens outside of you, you will learn through practice to be able to intervene in feelings of anger, hatred, or doubt, and dissipate them more and more quickly, ultimately regaining real control.
The Dalai Lama explains happiness as an enduring inner state of calm, and peace of mind, which is so deep that just like the ocean, no matter how many ripples or turbulence occur on the surface, it has no impact on the calm and stillness of the depths of the ocean.
In the same way, when you cultivate this inner feeling of calm, and peace in your mind, external events have no impact on that deep underlying state of calm.
Some may say that it is unattainable for normal people, and that people like the Dalai Lama have spent years cultivating and developing their inner peace. The belief and commitment is not in doubt, however the claim that it is unachievable for the average person is not true.
Everyone can learn to use the wisdom of the mind, and apply simple and effective principles and practices, and ways of thinking to change their experience of life.
So many people in life, in business, and sport, and other areas of high performance such as the arts, are suffering from a disturbance of sleep, feelings of anxiety and depression, physical, mental and emotional pain, addiction, stress and on and on.
Thankfully, the tide seems to be shifting, and although there are many problems facing us in the modern world, the understanding that people have amazing potential, useable by themselves, is moving through medicine, business and sport.
Mental strength, psychological resilience, and happiness through peace of mind is achievable for anyone who will learn and practice.
That is a wonderful thing.
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