The Basics of Happiness

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Jars (Watercolor)

 

“Happiness is a living thing. You need to feed your happiness in order to have happiness last. It’s like love. If you don’t feed your love, it will die. Understanding and compassion are the foundation to happiness.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

No Mud, No Lotus

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“Without suffering, there’s no happiness. So we shouldn’t discriminate against the mud. We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and the suffering of the world, with a lot of tenderness.”

THICH NHAT HANH

Thich Nhat Hanh goes on to say that we are so afraid of facing our suffering (worrying, anger, despair, fears, loneliness) that we go look for something to eat, or drink or watch TV. And many people do all of those at the same time. Even if there is nothing interesting or satisfying to watch, we are afraid to turn the television off, because then we will be left to face our suffering.

But it is necessary to face it.

It makes you stronger.

It makes you lighter.

It leads to happiness and nothing else will.

Compassionate Living

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“Don’t expect applause.”

 – Pema Chodron

I was waiting for my car to be repaired at Discount Tire. Waiting at the counter, sitting on a tall stool, was a girl of about six. She was coloring in her coloring book. Her little brother started to walk up towards her. He must have been four or five. Anticipating his height, she pushed the stool next to her closer to the counter and he was able to climb onto it. She resumed coloring. He didn’t say thank you and she didn’t anticipate it.

“Don’t expect applause” means don’t await thanks for what you do. And do not do kind acts in hopes of having people like you. Be kind for integrity’s sake.

 

Mom

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by Dakota Corbin

She used to treat us to McDonald’s every once in awhile, with money she earned selling Avon. We enjoyed sitting with her. My mom always beamed at us with love and pride.

I take my girls out for treats, too.  I hope they look back someday (as I do) and remember these good times.

Mom used to visit me in the middle of the night with medicine and a hug when I was sick.

I do the same for my daughters.

Mom used to drive us to violin, cello, piano and Tae Kwon Do lessons.

I drive my daughters to violin lessons, rehearsals, auditions and concerts, too.

Mom was always quick with words of encouragement, compassion and unconditional love.

I try to do the same, but she was (and is) better at it, definitely.

My mother taught me how to be a good parent and a good person. She’s still teaching me this.

Every nurturing mother in the world is the reason we have the compassion, love and support that we pass on.

 

Right Action

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There is a lot of action being taken nowadays: marches, boycotts, and lawsuits. People are unhappy and want to take action. Action can be good. It sounds better than just sitting on your tush, complaining. Complaining is definitely not productive.

In your own life, you might be pondering an action to take: to breakup with a lover, to make a career change, or to move out of the country. You ask yourself, is it the right thing to do?

In Buddhism, there is a saying, “Make right action.” By “right,” it is meant ideal or wise. It is not meant to be taken as the opposite of the Western concept of “wrong.” It means your decision comes from a place of calm, peace and compassion. And by action, it is all action, not just major decisions.

When you make dinner, serve it lovingly. When you drive, do it compassionately. When you work, do it mindfully. This will add up to a good life for you.

A hint: your action does not have its roots in anger or sadness.

So. Think about your choices. Which action is right action?