The Habits of Happiness from a Monk in Monterrey

Question.. How happy are you? Seriously.. on a scale of 1-10, a 10 being out of this planet euphoric, how happy are you?

August is dedicated to your development & growth, a key essential to personal & professional productivity.

At the end of this post you’ll find a 20 minute 2004 archive TED video featuring Matthieu Ricard. In order to inspire you to invest 20 minutes into your happiness, below I’ve included the highlights from his talk.

The Monk in Monterrey..

Consciously or not, directly or indirectly, in the short or the long term, whatever we do, whatever we hope, whatever we dream.. somehow, is related to a deep, profound desire for well-being or happiness

Our #1 priority..

If that’s true, then we can’t treat happiness as if it was just a secondary preoccupation in life. But now, if it is something that is going to determine the quality of every instant of our life, then we better know what it is, have some clearer idea.

Pleasure vs. Happiness..

Pleasure is contingent upon time, upon its object, upon the place. It is something that changes of nature. It sort of uses itself as you experience it. It’s something that is not radiating outside. You can feel intense pleasure.. and some others around you can be suffering a lot at the same time.

Happiness, of course, is such a vague word, so let’s say “well-being.” I think the best definition, according to the Buddhist view, is that well-being is not just a mere pleasurable sensation. It is a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment, a state that actually pervades and underlies all emotional states and all the joys and sorrows that can come one’s way.

Looking inward..

In our quest for happiness, very often we look outside. We think that if we could gather this and that, all the conditions, but our control of the outer world is limited, temporary, and often, illusory.

The Dalai Lama was once in Portugal, and there was a lot of construction going on everywhere. So one evening he said, “Look, you are doing all these things, but isn’t it nice, also, to build something within? Even you get high-tech flat on the 100th floor of a super-modern and comfortable building, if you are deeply unhappy within, all you are going to look for is a window from which to jump.”

What’s really happening..

Usually, when we feel annoyed, hatred or upset with someone, or obsessed with something, the mind goes again and again to that object. Each time it goes to the object, it reinforces that obsession or that annoyance. So then, it’s a self-perpetuating process.

So what we need to look now is, instead of looking outward, we look inward. Look at anger itself; it looks very menacing, like a billowing monsoon cloud or thunder storm. But we think we could sit on the cloud, but if you go there, it’s just mist.

If you do this again and again, the propensity, the tendencies for anger to arise again will be less and less each time you dissolve it. And, at the end, although it may rise, it will just cross the mind, like a bird crossing the sky without leaving any track.

The principal of mind training..

Mind training is based on the idea that two opposite mental factors cannot happen at the same time. You could go from love to hate. But you cannot, at the same time, toward the same object, the same person, want to harm and want to do good. You cannot, in the same gesture, shake hand and give a blow.

No quick fixes when breaking old habits..

Now, it takes time because it took time for all those faults in our mind, the tendencies, to build up, so it will take time to unfold them as well. Mind transformation means familiarization with a new way of being, new way of perceiving things which is more an aligned with reality, with interdependence, with the stream and continuous transformation which our being and our consciousness is.

This is not just a luxury..

This is not a supplementary vitamin for the soul; this is something that’s going to determine the quality of every instant of our lives. We are ready to spend 15 years achieving education. We love to do jogging, fitness. We do all kinds of things to remain beautiful. Yet we spend surprisingly little time taking care of what matters most: the way our mind functions. Which, again, is the ultimate thing that determines the quality of our experience.

A final question..

What work are you ready to do in order to stop reacting to life, but rather train for a new form of happiness leading to greater personal & professional productivity?

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