Sunday, January 13, 2008

How to achieve happiness

Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk, has been called the “happiest person in the world”. Emily Kasriel in the BBC World Service program "Heart and Soul" finds out from him what happiness is.

First, a sense of direction is very important. A sense of flourishing comes from inside, where the mind translates all the circumstances. This gives inner strength and freedom. Genuine happiness comes from altruistic love, inner peace, and not on external circumstances such as things that give us pleasure like meals with friends. Putting hopes and fears outside of us is ultimately disappointing.

In general make distinctions between mental emotions that are toxic: hatred, anger, jealousy. Cultivate inner love and peace and genuine compassion. This involves training. We need to first evoke compassion by thinking of an image such as a child we love and how much we wish health and happiness for that child. Do not let that thinking and imagining go but cultivate it. This is what we practice.

Of course the mind will wander, but bring it back gently without recrimination. Our aim is to practice compassion and wisdom. Wisdom is so as to free others from suffering.

We learn to deal with negative toxins or emotions. Look at anger and stop fueling it as if it were a fire and it will vanish.

Scientific research in 2000 from the Mind and Life Constituents organization met on the topic of destructive emotions. The Dalai Lama asked to make a contribution to the world so the organization identified the gamma waves of the brain. When the brain is practicing loving kindness, it generates positive emotions in gamma waves that can be measured on a scale.

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