Monday, January 17, 2011
According to the Dalai Lama the purpose of life is to seek happiness. Happiness is not the same thing as pleasure. When we are happy, we are more likely to be more loving and compassionate to ourselves and others.
Each day we face choices. We often choose things we know are not ultimately good for us, but that will give us pleasure. Unfortunately, what is good for us is often the more difficult choice, because we must give up all or some of our pleasure.
Satisfaction is also not the same as happiness. All non-virtuous actions may bring a sense of satisfaction to the person engaged in the act, but the ultimate consequences may be negative, detracting from happiness. By keeping this in mind, we can more easily give up things that may bring momentary pleasure or satisfaction, but ultimately harm us. Instead, if we ask, “will this bring me happiness?” we move in a positive direction. Instead of focusing on what we might be denying ourselves, we focus on what we really seek….to be happy.
So, if we continue to ask ourselves each time a choice is to be made, “will this bring me happiness?” and we answer and act honestly, then we will naturally move towards a healthier and more respectful lifestyle.
[Based on Chapters 1-2 of “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.]