Close your eyes and picture the last time you were really happy.
[pause to ponder – I’ll wait!]
What were you doing?
Who were you with? Chances are you were with somebody because at our core, we’re social animals and being around people and animals we trust and can laugh with is a big part of what makes us happy.
When you picture that happy time, do you feel an energy bubble in your gut?
Do you feel a smile cross your face?
Do you feel peace-of-mind? Just remembering a happy time releases oxytocin which reduces stress, fear, and pain.
The Dalai Lama was asked by someone at one of his talks if being happy was important. He laughed and said he only gets that question when he speaks to Westerners. Happiness isn’t just important – he believes it’s the purpose of life, that while you’re on the Earth, your #1 task is to make a happy life for yourself.
For the Dalai Lama, happiness doesn’t come from things; it comes from having peace of mind. And when your mind is peaceful, your inner tranquility leads to a feeling of love and compassion for yourself, for others, and for the world.
And here’s a nice twist. One of the best ways to find happiness is to bring happiness into the lives of others. The world around us can be filled with anger and hate, but when you’re happy at your core and feel compassion for your fellow humans, anger and hate don’t matter. Greet strangers and those who disagree with you with an open heart. Eventually, you’ll overwhelm them with warmth. Compassion. And maybe even happiness.
And did I mention that when you’re happy you get a lot of really good work done? You know I like that. 🙂
Here’s a short clip of the Dalai Lama talking about happiness. Watch to the end to hear a really good belly laugh.
Writing this post brings a big smile to my face. I hope I’m passing a happiness bubble along to you. Who will you share a happiness bubble with today?
This beautiful work of art comes to you today from the Maine College of Art