The Essence of Happiness by The Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler

Posted: August 26, 2014 in Book Notes
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  • Sometimes, making the “right choice” in life is difficult because it involves some sacrifice of our momentary pleasures… But framing any decision we face with the question “Will this bring me happiness?” can be a powerful strategy… Shifting the focus from what we are denying ourselves to what we are truly seeking – ultimate happiness.
  • If you possess this inner quality, a calmness of mind, a degree of stability within, then even if you lack various external facilities that you would normally consider necessary for happiness, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life.
  • How can we achieve inner contentment? Not to have what we want, but rather to want what we have.
  • A tree with strong roots can withstand the most violent storm, but the tree can’t grow root just as the storm appears on the horizon.
  • If we think about the injustice done to us, the ways that we have been unfairly treated, and keep thinking about it over and over, it feeds the hatred. Through this constant familiarity and thinking, we ourselves can make our emotions more intense and powerful.
  • The ability to shift perspective – asking, “How can I see this differently?” – can be one of the most powerful and effective tools we have to help us cope with life’s daily problems.
  • The essential ingredients to happiness.
    • Determination, effort, time.
  • Feelings of grief and anxiety are natural responses to loss. But if you allow these feelings of loss and worry to persist, there’s danger: if these feelings are left unchecked, they can lead to a kind of self-absorption.
  • I’ve found that sincere motivation acts as an antidote to reduce fear and anxiety.
  • Real spiritual practice is in some sense like a voltage stabilizer. The function of the stabilizer is to prevent irregular power surges and instead give you a stable and constant source of power.
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