Spirituality & Materialism
"Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it.
There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness.
The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of it filling a vacuum, it makes one. If it satisfies one want, it doubles and trebles that want another way."
Proverb of Ben Franklin
Paramahansa Yogananda put it in these words:
Possession of material riches, without inner peace, is like dying of thirst while bathing in a lake. If material poverty is to be avoided, spiritual poverty is to be abhorred! For it is spiritual poverty, not material lack, that lies at the core of all human suffering.
"Wealth Is Not His That Has It,
But His That Enjoys It."
"The wealthiest man is the
one who needs the least" -
Lao Tse Tao Te Ching
"Success is getting what you want,
Happiness is being happy with what you have."
In this article are the following sections:
For: Money brings you happiness
Against: Money doesn't bring you happiness
Thoughts & Quotes
Happiness is linked to expectations. People in the lower wage brackets tend to think that money will bring them happiness. The truth is that after a certain level of affluence (money income) money makes no major difference to levels of happiness. We need certain needs met - ie. food, clothes, home.
The buzz of winning the lottery only lasts a few days / weeks - then we return to a baseline happiness.
Money provides freedom, choice and independance. Or does it? The more money you have the more you maybe paranoid about losing it (security) or you might just become greedy!
As in the movie, Forest Gump's mum said, 'you need some money for comfort the rest is for showing off!'
"The root of all evil is the love of money" St. Paul
Money may not be evil, but the love of money is!!!
Can't have wealth without poverty. Can't have pleasure without pain. This duality is intrinsic to physical life.
(Be careful of having victim or poverty consciousness - always thinking I'm poor, can't afford that!
Make sure you feel you are worthy of prosperity! )
Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.
How sad to see a father with money and no joy. The man studied economics, but never studied happiness.
The greatest source of unhappiness comes from inside. Happiness is the art of learning how to get joy from your substance.
Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.
Excerpted from The Treasury of Quotes by Jim Rohn. Copyright © 1994 Jim Rohn International. These quotes are by Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher.
Prosperity by Dr. Wayne Dyer
Authentic power does not come to you from the aquisition of money, because without the money you would then be powerless. Authentic power comes from your soul, that magical place that is always within you.
Prosperity in the form of wealth works exactly the same as everything else. You will see it coming into your life when you are unattached to needing it. You will see it flowering into your life when you are in flow and and giving of yourself in a purposeful manner. Money - like health, love, happiness and all forms of miraculous happenings that you want to create for yourself - is the result of you living purposefully. It is not a goal unto itself. If you chase after it, it will always elude you. you will never have enough, and you will suffer enourmously as a result.
There are examples everywhere of people who have large amounts of money but are purposeless in their souls. Famous actors and actresses plagued by drug habits, committing suicide at what others thought of as the peak of their careers. Hotshot businessmen plagued by fear, wracked with ulcersm and ending their lives because of business failures. Divorce rates among the very wealthy, skyrocketing along wiht painful courtroom squabbles over who gets what. Lottery winners plagued with alcoholism and ending up bankrupt or suicidal even though they are in possession of unimaginable bank accounts. When wealth is the reason for your activities, and the quality of your life is based on what you have accumulated compared with others, then prosperity is impossible. You will be back at suffering as your means of enlightenment.
When you are on purpose, doing what you know you are here for, and forgetting about what will come into your life in the way of money and wealth, then money and wealth arrive in your life in amounts sufficient to provide you with a life of prosperity. And this is real magic in action. I can say this because it has worked for me (and me - Greg). When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous.
Prosperity is not the result of following a strict set of gimmicks and strategies, it is a mind-set, a mind-set that is centred on your ability to manifest miracles. Whatever you have believed to be impossible, shift it around to create an inner prosperity picture.
From Real Magic, Dr Wayne Dyer
My cup floweth over
I am abundant, prosperous & fulfilled
I am worthy of prosperity, abundance and fulfillment
I share love, happiness, Peace & abundance
If your have much money and/ or many possessions the key is to SHARE!
Don't just hoard for yourself!
The more you give the more you get - Law of Karma
Interview with Dalai Lama, Robert Thurman - May 2001
Right now, the gap between rich and poor is increasing more and more.
At least 500 new billionaires have come up during the last twenty years. Five hundred!
Yes, up from twelve in 1982, and now almost 600. But out of those, more than 100 have come up in Asia. Though we think of Asia as poor, there are billionaires in Asia, and at the same time so many poor people in the West - so it's more like a worldwide system of rich and poor that has gone beyond East and West.
You have said that the communists failed miserably in their attempt to force the rich people to share.
So then what is the alternative in trying to get a better balance?
People have to decide on their own that it is good to share what they have, at least to some degree. I think that this can only happen through education, through increasing their awareness. In the long run, when there is one rich family surrounded by poor people, mentally they will not be happy. Their children will always receive some harassment from the poor community, so physically also they will constantly feel some sort of fear or threat. So in the long run, not only will they be morally unhappy but also they will be practically unhappy.
Then, you can think in terms of the murder rate or senseless violence in the community; in some cases an overly polarized economy can become one cause of a civil war. When there is too much of a gap, some agitators can easily organize the poor people, as they can claim to be fighting for equality or for justice. So therefore, if we return to an ever more huge gap, then due to such condilions within societies, many troubles are bound to come. That being the case, in the long run it is in the interest of the richer people themselves to make sure that there is a less-extreme gap between themselves and the poor around them. In this way, they will realize their enlightened self-interest in sharing.
Then also they can think more carefully about their own lifestyle. For example, except for the fact that richer people can think, "I am really rich!" - except for being able to hold this concept in their thoughts, I doubt if there is that much difference in the actual quality of their living, if they become more mindful of its actual details.
Except, as you already mentioned, on the physical level.
Even on the physical level, how much can anyone put into one stomach? Except perhaps you, as your belly seems quite expansive [laughs]! That being so, really, even in the practical, material facts of living, there's not that much special about being really rich.
For example, you can drink a lot of wine or liquor, some really expensive kind, or you can eat very costly food. But if it is too rich, or if you eat too much, it will hurt your health. Then some people who don't work physically fear they are getting too unhealthy, so then they expend a tremendous amount of sweat doing strenuous exercises. Like me, I don't get out to walk very much, so I have to ride on my exercise bike every day! When you think about it, there isn't that much to it, is there?
As you say.
But in the thinking "I am rich, really rich!" - just the excitement of that concept gives a little energy. But this is really very little of a benefit, for some sort of self-image. Just for this, is it worth it to engage in all the stress of amassing huge wealth? Within one's family there will be unhappiness, within society there will be so many people feeling jealousy and malice and wishing you ill. And you will feel anxiety about that. And so one develops a more clear awareness of the realities of the state of extreme wealth.
On the other hand, if they instead think, "I'm so rich. If I help these poor ones in front of me, if I help their health, if I help them develop skills and good qualities, then these poorer people will really like me. Even though I'm rich, they will really feel friendly toward me." That way, the rich person will find real happiness, don't you think so? For example, if there is some tragedy in the thoughtless rich family, then the ordinary people might actually enjoy it. But in the opposite case, if something tragic happens to the generous rich family, then everyone is genuinely sorry. So if you get richer and richer and still share nothing, and the people around you really dislike you, how can you feel good?
Fundamentally, we are social animals, so when the surrounding people become more genuinely friendly, we feel more mutual trust and we are much, much happier.
So the rich should make a conscious decision, on their own volition, to make their contribution, share the wealth that has come to them from their past good karma. When they increase their awareness of others' perspectives, they will naturally realize, "Helping others more, they will be happy, and then I will be happy myself!" That's what I am thinking.
The Rolling Stone interview: The Dalai Lama (Rolling Stone) New York May 24, 2001 Author: Robert Thurman
Spirituality and Materialism
by Lama Thubten Yeshe
Lama Yeshe gave this talk
at Melbourne University, Australia in April, 1975.
Edited by Nicholas Ribush.
People often talk about
spirituality and materialism, but what do these terms really mean? You'll
find that, as individuals, each of us has a different view.
Some think they're opposites, two irreconcilable extremes. Others think you can't lead a spiritual life while living in a materialistic society, that to do so you have to abandon all enjoyment of material things. Then there are those who think spiritual seekers are rejects from society who couldn't succeed in the material world. Yet others think, "I'm a rationalist, I don't believe anything," considering religious people blindly ignorant believers.
Some people, especially those brought up in materialistic societies, become attracted to Buddhism or some other religion the moment they hear about it. Without understanding or even checking that it suits their mind, they immediately grasp at that religion as "fantastic!" This is very dangerous and not at all a spiritual attitude.
Religion is not just some dry intellectual idea but rather your basic philosophy of life: you hear a teaching that makes sense to you, find through experience that it relates positively with your psychological makeup, get a real taste of it through practice, and adopt it as your spiritual path. That's the right way to enter the spiritual path.
If, for example, after you encounter Buddhism for the first time you think it contains wonderful ideas and immediately try to make radical changes to your life, you won't make any progress at all. You have to implement it step by step. To actualize Dharma you have to look at your basic situation, what you are now, and try to change gradually, checking as you go.
So, why do we all have different views of what spirituality and materialism are?
Because we have all had
different experiences and therefore think differently.
To follow the spiritual path you do not have to abandon material things, nor does leading a materialistic life mean that you can't engage in spiritual practice. In fact, even if you are totally materialistic, if you check deep within your psyche, you will find that there is already a part of your mind that is flowing in a spiritual direction. It may not be intellectualized, it may not be your conscious philosophy, you may even declare, "I am not a believer," but in the depths of your consciousness there is a spiritual stream of energy constantly in motion.
From the point of view of religious tolerance, the world today is a much better place than it was even less than one hundred years ago. People held extreme views; the religious were afraid of the nonreligious and vice-versa; everybody felt very insecure. This was all based on misconceptions and is mainly in the past, but some people may still think that way. Certainly, as I've been saying, many people feel that spiritual and material lifestyles are completely incompatible. It's not true.
Therefore, take the middle way as much as you can; avoid extremes. If your spiritual practice and the demands of your everyday life are not in harmony, it means there's something wrong with the way you are practicing. Your practice should satisfy your dissatisfied mind while providing solutions to the problems of everyday life. If it doesn't, check carefully to see what you really understand about your religious practice.
Everything Lord Buddha taught was for us to penetrate to the essence of our being in order to realize the nature of the human mind. But he never said we had to believe what he said just because he'd said it. He encouraged us to understand the meaning of what he said. Without such comprehension, your entire spiritual trip is a fantasy, a dream, a hallucination: one skeptical question from a doubter and your whole spiritual life collapses like a house of cards.
put it all together. Enjoy your material life as much as you can, but at the
same time, understand the nature of both whatever it is that you're enjoying
and the mind enjoying it, and how the two relate. If you understand all this
at a deep level, that is religion. If all your narrow mind sees is what is
external and you never know what's happening in your own mind, that's a materialistic
view. It's not the fault of the materials, but that of your view.
You can't dedicate your life to just one object: "This flower is so beautiful it makes my life worthwhile. If this flower dies, I won't be able to live." That is stupid, isn't it? I mean, the flower is just an example; we do this with other people and all sorts of other things, but such is the extreme view of the materialistic mind. A more realistic approach would be, "Yes, the flower is beautiful, but it won't last; alive today, dead tomorrow. But my satisfaction does not depend on that flower and I wasn't born human just to enjoy flowers."
Whatever you understand by religion, or Buddhism, or even simple philosophical ideas, should be integrated with the basics of your life. Then you can experiment: does satisfaction come from your own mind or not? That is enough. You don't need to make extreme changes to your life to learn that dissatisfaction is created by your own mind. You don't need to suddenly sever your connection with the world. You can lead a normal life while observing the nature of the dissatisfied mind. This approach is both realistic and practical, and guaranteed to give you an answer.
Otherwise, you accept some extreme idea, intellectually try to give something else up, and all it does is agitate your life. For the human body to exist you have to eat; you can't become an extreme ascetic overnight. Be realistic; it is unnecessary to make radical changes. Change on the inside; change the way you see things, instead of hallucinating.
We also have to accept the fact that everything is constantly changing. Many of us have fixed ideas about the way things should be and suffer when they don't turn out like that. Lord Buddha's psychology teaches us to free ourselves from that kind of graspingnot in an emotional, rejecting way but rather by taking the middle way, between the two extremes. If you put your mind wisely into this balanced space, you will find there happiness and joy.
Kadampa Buddhist practices - Happiness is a state of mind
You may have a thousand
different goals over the course of
your lifetime, but they all will fall into one of four basic
categories. Everything you do is an attempt to enhance the
quality of your life in one or more of these areas.
The first category is
your desire for happy relationships.
You want to love and be loved by others. You want to have a
happy, harmonious home life. You want to get along well with
the people around you, and you want to earn the respect of
the people you respect. Your involvement in social and
community affairs results from your desire to have happy
interactions with others and to make a contribution to the
society you live in.
The second category is
your desire for interesting and
challenging work. You want to make a good living, of course,
but more than that, you want to really enjoy your occupation
or profession. The very best times of your life are when you
are completely absorbed in your work.
The third category is
your desire for financial
independence. You want to be free from worries about money.
You want to have enough money in the bank so that you can
make decisions without counting your pennies. You want to
achieve a certain financial state so that you can retire in
comfort and never have to be concerned about whether or not
you have enough money to support your lifestyle. Financial
independence frees you from poverty and a need to depend
upon others for your livelihood. If you save and invest
regularly throughout your working life, you will eventually
reach the point where you will never have to work again.
The fourth and final category
is your desire for good
health, to be free of pain and illness and to have a
continuous flow of energy and feelings of well-being. In
fact, your health is so central to your life that you take
it for granted until something happens to disrupt it.
Peace of mind is essential
for every one of these. The
greater your peace of mind, the more relaxed and positive
you are, the less stress you suffer, the better is your
The more peace of mind
you have, the better are your
relationships, the more optimistic, friendly and confident
you are with everyone in your life. When you feel good about
yourself on the inside, you do your work better and take
more pride in it. You are a better boss and coworker. And
the greater your overall peace of mind, the more likely you
are to earn a good living, save regularly for the future and
ultimately achieve financial independence.
Life is very much a study
of attention. Whatever you dwell
upon and think about grows and expands in your life. The
more you pay attention to your relationships, the quality
and quantity of your work, your finances and your health,
the better they will become and the happier you will be.
Here are three things
you can do immediately to put these
ideas into action.
First, take time on a
regular basis to think about what
would make you really happy in each of the four areas.
Second, set specific,
measurable goals for improvement in
your relationships, your health, your work and your finances
and write them down.
Third, resolve to do something
every day to increase the
quality of some area of your life - and then keep your
Any mistakes, confusion, misunderstanding is due to me. (Editor -Greg)
Our purpose is to seek happiness. Not in a selfish way. look at effects - if we are happy we are nicer to others eg. in traffic.
The path to happiness - means finding what brings pleasure & what brings suffering.
Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events.
Success, pay rise, new car, recognition may result in temporary elation, - higher mood
Tragedy may result in temporary depression -
However sooner or later the excitement subsides & depression disappear & we return to a baseline level of happiness.
eg. Lottery Winners - experience initial happiness but then return
What determines this baseline of happiness? Can it change - up or down? Is it genetic? Is there a set point of happiness?
'Our moment to moment happiness is largely determined by outlook' (attitude)
'It is a function of how we perceive our situation, how satisfied we are with what we have'
'Our feelings of contentment are strongly influenced by our tendency to compare'
eg. salary, car, house, childrens clothers, fashion etc.
When people compare themselves to people that they perceive better off they feel worse.
When people compare themselves to people who are worse of (disformed / economically challenged / unwell / hurt or injured) some may feel inner satisfaction or gratitude.
There are 4 types of happiness:
Our state of mind is the key.
There is a difference between Happiness & Pleasure.
In decision making, it may be helpful to ask yourself:
rather than asking (subconsciously) 'will this bring me pleasure?' it may be better to ask will doing or buying this bring happiness?
What we need is often very different to what we want desire
eg. Need food, clothes, shelter, education)
Want / Desire impulse - new clothes, new car, better .. newer..).
Path to Happiness
'We don't need more money, we don't need greater success or fame, we don't need the perfect body or even the perfect partner - right now, at this very moment, we have a mind, which is all the basic equipment we need to acheive complete happiness!
'So the first step in seeking happiness is learning (or unlearning)
Can we measure happiness?
Is it a single chemical - serotonin - the 'happiness drug' or is there one brain region for happiness.
Well scientists are working on this now.
There are many levels of happiness - and different types of happiness:
People naturally avoid pain and move towards / desire or pleasure.
I feel that there is a happiness frequency - that we can all tap into. True happiness is not short term pleasure. True Happiness is a state of mind. True happiness is not based on externals.
True happiness can not be taken away by others.
True happiness is the baseline of happiness, that we return to after excitement, depression, greed, envy, jealousy etc.
Buddhists, Hindus, Yogi's, Mystics talk of "Joy of Bliss - happiness for no reason"
This results from a clear, alert, focused mind - aware of the present moment.
Happiness is available HERE NOW in this moment.
Not in the future when you get something. Nor is happiness in the past!
Be Happy on the journey to a worthwhle goal.
Be process orientated, not necessarily goal orientated.
Once you have reached your goal - relax, appreciate it fully. Then out of a relaxed state of being, allow the next inspiration / idea / vision / purpose spring up in the quiet mind.
It is said - 'People feel happy
to the extent to which they feel in control.'
Be in control of yourself. External events never stay as they are. Everything changes.
True control lies in mastery of our actions, words and thoughts.
True happiness is related to understanding the nature of reality -the nature of change - insight of impermanence.
Life goes through a cycle of polarities - touch, sex, birth, growth, old age, sickness, decay & death.
The rational mind / ego and body are slaves of the soul. Use them, don't be a slave of your mind and negative thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, habits, fears and ego.
How you experience reality is based on perception. A pessimist looks at a donut and sees the hole. An optimist see the donut and sees the round part.
One man's trash is another man's gold!
No matter what is going on around I can centre and find the still point inside me and / or I look at the Cosmic jokes that God plays with us, moment to moment! and let go, dissolving into the spaciousness.
'Success is getting what you want, Happiness is wanting what you get' (saw quote in restaurant)
Be Happy, Look Younger
Author Thomas Blakeslee has taken Dr Grossarth-Maticek's work further by identifying attitudes that keep you feeling & looking good. He says. "Good attitudes affect happiness and bring pleasure and wellbeing, which are vital for good health. Attitudes affect your appearance as well as your health. Smile lines look a lot better than frown lines."
Then there's Dr Martin Seligman, professor of psychology at the University of pensylvania. He's studied optimism and outlines his results in 'Learned Optimism' (Pocket Books,£14). His research found and optimistic outlook can help people pass exams, last longer in a job and stay (and look) healthier after 45."If you're a pessimist, you're eight times more likely to get depressed, you relationships are more liklely to break up and you also face a shorter, more illness filled life," he says. But he believes you can learn optimism. He teaches people to tackle the pessimistic things they think, such as , "No-one is going to like me at this party."
He suggests, "Treat the negative thought as if it were said by someone whose aim is to make you miserable, then dispute it. We often disagree if others make false accusations and we should learn to do that ourselves. It's the key skill in optimism training."
Stress Ages fast, laughing keeps us young
Linda Blair, clinical psychologist at the University of Bath, says 'Chronic stress is bad for your health. It's hard to tell how much it affects your weelbeing it would be uniethical to divded people into groups, subject half to stress and then research it. But it looks like chronic stress affects the heart.'
Stress is also associated with frown lines, facial tension from grinding teeth at night and bad posture, which adds years to your figure.
As George Orwell said ' At 50, everyone has the face he deserves"
However as Blair says, "Everyone knows someone with a very stressful life who still looks great." The crucial factor, she says, is not the amount of stress you sufferm but how you deal with it.
"There's evidence that when you don't let your emotions out, you're prone to serious illness. Denying your feelings when you're stressed is associated with not living to old age or not being in shape if you get there."
Reaching for cigarettes and alchohol are especially ageing stress strategies. Heavy smokers are nearly five times more likely to be wrinkled than non-smokers. And alcohol loads the body with free radicals, which damage celss and cause olss of collagent,the stuff that gives skin its youthful elasticity.
What Keeps you young?
What's needed is a positive attitude to stress and change. In his research, Dr Selignman defines optimism as how people explain their success and failures to themselves. Optimistic people tend to think failure is caused by something that can be changed, so they can succeed next time/ Pessimists tend to take the blame for failure attributingit to some character defect they're helpless to alter. You can guess which attitude piles on the wrinkles.
At its most extreme, the pessimist's option can also lead to depression. But again if you get depressed, it's all down to how you handle it. Blair says "If you feel there's a solution, depression will pass faster and there'll be less of an effect on you than if you just feel hopeless. While depression can make you look older, you bounce back"
Exercising for Happiness
"One of the fastest ways to look old is not to exercise,"says Blair. John Grimley Evans professor of clinical geratology at the University of Oxford, agrees: "Whatever gets worse as you age, gets better if you exercise." That includes everything from muscle strength and the condition of your skin to your figure - that bottom stays toned if you exercise it. And exercise boosts circulation which keeps skin clear of toxins.
Exercise also promotes happiness. As Blakeslee points out,"It generates endorphins (the body's feel good chenmical), whcih give you a strong sense of well being." Endorphins are prduced after 20minutes of exercisem which also releases tension and helps you sleep - both good for maintaining a happy glow.
And what easier than sex? Lots of sex with the same partner is a key to happinessm says Charls T Hill, professor of psychology at Whittier college, LA. He suggests the two prerequisites for happiness are self-esteem and a secure relationship. And as they say, you're only as old as the man you feel.
LAUGHING OFF THE YEARS
Blakeslee says you need to look at your attitudes, too. Often as you get older you experiecnce a narrowing of things you enjoy. He suggests an exercise where you list all the things you enjoyed in your last year of education. This might be sex, being silly, playing loud music, dancing, swimming or buying make-up. Then tick all the things you still do and enjoy/ Think about the items without ticks - why don't you do them? Remember,'too old ' is not an acceptable answer!" says Blakeslee.
The next step is"attitude jogging". Take an unticked item and give it a try in your life now!....
p28 -29, Be Happy, Look Younger, by Wendy Bristow from SHE magazine www.she.co.uk Aug 2002
The Attitude Factor, Thomas Blakeslee, Harper Collins
4 Steps to Instant Bliss
Relationships expert Ben Renshaw is co-director of the Happiness Project a training organisation that aims to bring out people's happiness potential". Here are his top tips for that instatn high...
1. Congratulate Yourself
If you've given a great presentation at work or cooked a delicious meal, give yourself credit and tell yourself "well done". It's a way of marking your achievements and making yourself feel good about yourself.
2. Do what you love at work and play
If you're a people person, bring that into the workplace with you. Make sure you try to have one good conversation with a colleague every day.
3. Nurture Friendships
Give the people who make you feel good priority in your life - they're essential to your emotional wellbeing. If you're feeling a bit down, organise a girl's night in or arrange to meet a good friend for coffee. It'll perk you up.
4. Make time for more "me moments"
Indulge yourself - it's great for your happiness "rating". Book a massage or a weekend away. And when it comes to your daily routine, schedule in some self-focused treats. For example, reserving ten minutes of your gym time for the steam room will introduce some space & peace into your hectic schedule.
Visit www.happiness.co.uk for more inspiration
p28 -29, Be Happy, Look Younger, by Wendy Bristow from SHE magazine www.she.co.uk Aug 2002
The Attitude Factor, Thomas Blakeslee, Harper Collins
Did You Know?
1. The happiest nation in the world is Bangladesh, according London School of Economics World Happiness survey. Despite the fact that it's one of the poorest countries, the populations strong sense of community and family ties are thought to br the source of its contentment.
2. Researchers have identified at least 18 differet tyoes of smiles expressing all sorts of good emotions: happiness, enjoyment, pleasure, pride, relief and amusement being just a few.
3. Britons are happiest between the ages of 65 and 74, according to research conducted by Boots. A sense of control, optimism, accepting your looks, fitting into a social group and having good health were defined as the five key factors dictating well being and happiness. And while the study found your 30s are a tough decade for both sexes, woment are happier than men in their early 30s as they have a high level of self acceptance.
p36 from SHE magazine www.she.co.uk, Aug 2002 Edition
SAY "NO" TO A HAPPIER LIFE
"If you say yes to others all the time, you're effectively sending yourself to the back of the queue"
Ben Williams Corporate Psychologist, "Contrary to what you might think," he says, "saying no every now and then will make other people respect you more, not less. We're afraid people won't like us if we turn them down. But that's a myth. People who accept every possible request that comes their way are often taken for granted. Those who say yes less are really appreciated when they give their time."
...in the long run people will be relieved when you set limits, because they know you won't end up resenting them. Your relationships are more honest and so flourish. Most importantly, when you say no you, make time for things you want to do, putting yourself on the path to a happier life.
"The key is to let her know how you really feel," advises Breitman. ..."by speaking your mind, you'll save your friendship with her (and her relationships with the other people she burdens").
"I don't have time for all these family dos, but I'd really love to see you. Let's have lunch next week." Or pop in to see her, phone her a bit more often and send her those pictures of the children you promised."
"Thanks for thinking of me. I'm sorry though it's just impossible."
Offer to help out rather than take on a whole project or offer to help occasionally - not every time
Excerpts from Article by Sandi Kahin Shelton , SHE magazine, August 2002
Ways to increase happiness
All the joy the world contains
is through wishing happiness for others
All the misery the world contains
has come through wanting pleasure for oneself
(8.129 - Shantideva - Bodhicharyavatara)
Sing to Your Hearts Content
Native American Indian teachings say that singing can bring on happiness. Singing is a self expression. Let voice come from centre of self - fuller sound - emotional resonance. Sing from heart - open your heart. Sing from belly.
You can change from very shy introverted to open trusting self.
Sounds - windows of souls - sounds bring about present moment.
Happy sounds - Vowels - a, e, i, o, u, Ohm, Ahhh-
abstract sounds - or even nonsense sounds make us feel good.
No Pain No gain
Friednietzche - said no pain no gain - need suffering, and pain to have happiness. Anything worthwhile will have strain; but the pain is worth it in end.
eg. a weight lifter or an athlete is happy to go through strain in order to reach a goal.
Great aquired Greatness - overcame difficulties
Difficulty is normal - gap between where are & where need to be.
We learn more from suffering than from success.
In order to harvest great happiness -may need to live dangerous, live on slope on Mt. Vezuvious, beautiful experience, no pain no gain. Nietzche
TEACHINGS OF THE BUDDHA
The Sermon at Benares is the Buddha's equivalent of 'Jesus' sermon on the Mount. In it the gist of Buddhist teaching is given. The "Four Noble Truths" that are contained in this document.
In his Enlightenment, Gautama Siddhartha was shown that pain and suffering is caused by attachment to the process of living and other people. The cravings of life can never be satisfied. this attachment results in frustration and negative action that generate karma. Desire & attachment creates karma which makes the necessity for further lifetime, as karma is both made and cleared while in the body.
Use Visualisations, Affirmations, Mantras, Mandalas and Mudras
Think of a time that you were happy - laughing, joyful and energetic. Visualize it clearly and vividly. Feel the happiness spreading through your body, warming it up with love and joy.
Use positive affirmations like, 'I am happy'. repeat regularly
True Happiness cannot be taken away.
True happiness is a frequency. A state of being. Beyond the level of senses & sensations. Bliss is happiness for no reason.
True happiness has qualities of tranquility, love, compassion, kindness, gentleness, peace, generosity, etc.
When are minds are calm, clear and alert we are content and peaceful. From this peace arises bliss. (fear / doubt / panic may arise - but just watch it and let it pass)
Bliss is in the here now.
The best moment is this one!
Your mind is the root of the happiness that is experienced
pleasure / pain / nirvana - is all mind
You can go miles on holiday but you are still taking your own mind (attitude, beliefs, filters) with you.
It's never going to get away from you. So start training your mind. Be vigilant & diligent.
We have to escape from past or future - past is a memory & gone, we can't change - we can only learn from it. Future is anticipation, and not yet created - it depends on how we act now.
Only awareness of now exists eternally and is. Only in this moment do we have dominion over our thoughts, words & deeds.
It sounds obvious but most of us are actually un-conscious of what we are physically doing most of the time. Our heads are in the clouds. Many of us walk around or drive while we are worrying & anxious - thinking about a problem.
When we are not fully aware of the task at hand, we are spluit and we are not actually fully present - just doing the task at hand.
Have you ever heard of the story of the race between the hare & tortoise? The tortoise won the race - moving slowly but deliberately. The hare although faster, kept having naps and overslept!!
The key is to catch yourself being unconscious - . Notice when you are caught in a negative mind stream, ie. daydreaming, rushing unconsciously, panicking, anxious, tired, depressed, angry, fearful, worrying, overplanning etc.
Take each moment as it comes. Realize that everything is meant to be like it is. Buddhist insight of suchness - it's like this now!
Everything is a lesson, a chance to learn something - or chance to show your mastery.
extreme example of living in moment - Sky diving, Bungee jump - euphoria; - so much fun - sensations - 'Blow your mind' - access your sensations - in moment ( don't unnecessarily risk your life - this is induced by external).
This may be why people take up these risky activities to access this level of alertness - no-thought.
People naturally crave the experience of no-mind. No-mind is not a void, it is a state of pure being -we are alert, focused but calm.
Once you have experienced for yourself what I am speaking about, then the journey begins - of how to cultivate this state as much as possible and how to share this happiness.
see page - living in the NOW!
Sex, Drugs. Rock & Roll?
If you are addicted to some substance - it probably means you are too attached to your emotions.
As soon as one get's off centre, anxious or stressed - one is off -balance and looking for centre (inner peace) again. So generally one goes for a smoke, has a few deep puffs / or has a coffee.
Any addiction is about moving away from underlying causes / problems -moving away from the present moment.
It is generally about escaping inner pain or turmoil. If only one stopped for a second, and dealt with the underlying causes of suffering, one would be free from addiction.
Cocaine, amphetamine - make you hyperactive. Cocaine closes your heart centre,and makes people more self-centred.
Ecstasy - from 'Ec-stasis - to stand outside self, feel love connection with others - bonding, empathy. However this is unnatural.
Don't look for the drugs to bring happiness and solve problems.
Some drugs can be a short cut to changing chemistry of brain - sometimes putting people in the moment - experiencing the now eg. ecstasy.
However this peace & pleasure doesn't last long, and soon the craving for the next hit takes over.
Drugs are just an external solution for an internal problem.
Remember law. Illegal. Some people like the rush of doing something naughty, something they shouldn't be doing.
If you've ever done drugs you will know that there is no pleasure without pain - there is always the 'come down' - moodswings, anciety, distracted, pastey complexion, insomnia, paranoia police.
Chocolate, Coffee - are legal vices, non-discriminating - changes mood,
Realistically (practically) Everything in Moderation is OK.
Take nothing to excess or abuse.
Drugs can be nice in moderation, but best avoided. Poison from a snake can be used as a cure.
Likewise wamed beer & honey is apparently a good cure for colds & fever.
For instance some teachers say that gambling in itself is not bad - however it is the attachment to gambling that is bad. Gambling cultivates greed.
Money is not bad, it is the love of money that leads to negative consequences - greed, miserliness, envy etc.
Natural Drugs are not evil, it is our craving for them and over use that ruins peoples lives.
A little alchohol is often present in cough medicine. Drunkeness ruins relationships, not to mention liver, brain & kidneys.
Native american indians smoke the peace pipe - however this is a ritual, smoking natural tobacco, and with a good intention.
Chain smokers smoke one after the other, hoping to calm down, only getting worked up if they don't relax! (similar to crack / cocaine addicts)
Drugs also can help us stay alert.
Drugs such as LSD, show the experienced / mature / strongminded user that reality is based much on perception (power of the mind) and that every object has got is-ness. However I have seen the effects of a bad trip and they are not pleasant.
In moderation, under suitable supervision drugs such as peyote, cocaine & marijuana can have beneficial effects. Drugs such as mushrooms, peyote may provide useful insights / visions.
I am not advocating drug taking. However cultures have
All I am suggesting is that we become more conscious of our thoughts, words, and deeds moment to moment and share our happiness.
Then we will realise the negative effects of intoxicating substances.
Personally I have used recreational drugs in the past, however since I became mindful of the effects and consequences I realised that attachment to any drugs are not on the path to inner peace & happiness.
Buddha did not advocate taking any intoxicating substances - mainly because it leads to selfish craving and an unclear mind - not conducive to enlightenment - the ultimate liberation from negative attachment & selfish craving.
A calm & clear mind can see the true nature of things. Buddhist are high on a natural high. Not blissed out, rather calm, clear & collected -seeing the vibrance & vividness of life.
Attachment & craving to drugs - or likewise any attachment for any negative external object / destructive internal state will not lead to liberation - which is the extinction of selfish craving.
see addiction page.
True long term happiness comes from within; cultivating inner peace and making an connection with your True Nature / Universal energy / Divine One Within / Source - being happy with whatsoever arises in the present moment - not craving, no attachment to lower desires / fears ...and sharing this happiness, bliss. Letting go of any stress, resistance - saying 'Thy will be done' instead of 'my will be done'.
Just being - aware of awareness - in between thoughts, abiding in the pure uncontrived nature of mind.
This is where there is true harmony - where all opposites dissolve.
On a physical level - what makes us happy is a job well done!!! (No Pain no Gain) and especially if it makes others happy. Happiness is also in the doing of the job - not expecting to receive credit / recognition afterwards.
Happiness comes from within, especially when the ego is tamed
The ego looks externally for happiness. Ego and selfish craving is the main reason for suffering.
The more we are selfless, helping others - the more our lives have meaning.
Drug taking is often about seeking pleasure for ourselves. After pleasure comes pain. However with many substances the pain only happens after many years.
The only true security is security of Self.
The only true long term confidence is knowing that you have trained your thoughts, words and deeds.
The only constant is change. (Chinese Proverb, I Ching).
Be at one with change - ride the waves of life like a dolphin.
I used to have ups and downs - happy - sad. Now I just have constant inner high. The eye of the tornado is quiet and peaceful -no matter what the external events are.
I am not advocating drug taking. Do so at your own risk. If you do, be aware of the consequences -to yourself & others. See how the drugs affect your mood / personality etc. Also don't forget long term effects.
I suggest we become more conscious of our thoughts, words, and deeds moment to moment and share our happiness.
By becoming more mindful, we will realize what states of mind are conducive to long term happiness & peace. We will realize that anger, jealousy, envy, greed, hatred, ignorance lead to suffering for ourselves as well as for others.
When we no longer need drugs to make us feel happy or part of the group. We will be happy with ourselves just as we are. And anyone who isn't happy with us, just as we truly are, is probably - jealous, ignorant , deluded, envious - trying to back up his / her own self destruction.
The way to find real peace and happiness is to clear karma (our past conditioning )and realise enlightenment / our true nature / God within.
All the joy the world contains
is through wishing happiness for others.
All the misery the world contains
has come through wanting pleasure for oneself.
(8.129 - Shantideva - Bodhicharyavatara)
"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." Henry David Thoreau
"It is not by accident that the happiest people are those who make a conscious effort to live useful lives. Their happiness . . . is not a shallow exhilaration where life is one continuous intoxicating party. Rather, their happiness is a deep sense of inner peace that comes when they believe their lives have meaning and that they are making a difference for good in the world."
-- Ernest Fitzgerald
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