Let’s explore how to be happier !
Find Happiness : 10 questions / Answers with Geshe Lhakdor
A bit of context before start to talk about happiness. This conversation took place in Tibet World Institute in Dharamsala, India. It was a teaching about the meaning of life gifted by a well known Buddhist Geshe Lakdor (director of Tibetan Library and Archives Centre and former translator of Dalai Lama).
I arrived, of course how could I’ve done otherwise, full of stereotypes and misunderstandings about Buddhism, happiness and spirituality.
Coming from European cultural background, directly arrived from my busy everyday-routine in our agitated societies, I am now sitting in this room facing this brilliant Geshe Lhakdor, trying to absorb a bit of his wisdom, drinking his words and trying to lift the veil. Which veil?
The veil of the ignorance of happiness which covers our mind formatted with business relationships.
So, here the questions I came with, here the answers I got
It’s now up to you to choose to follow this path but at least you will, now, know the destination!
What is happiness ?
Quest for happiness is the meaning of life. We are talking here about long lasting happiness, not ephemeral’s one. Geshe Lakdor describes it :
“Happiness is a deep feeling of satisfaction
Happiness can be reached by exploration
Exploration is accepting new challenges.
New challenges bring new ideas, new energies inside you.”
So happiness could be an energy ? A positive, warm and kind energy going through every part of your body and mind ? Let’s explore further !
Where is happiness coming from ?
Knowing that we all want happiness, the universal question could be “Where are we going to get this long lasting happiness from ?”
According to Geshe, “Not from what we learnt from our parents, not from religion beliefs either. You need to want to be happy. It’s all start by a commitment to yourself :
Whatever happens in life I will not make my mind unhappy. I will not feed the anger but starve it like an enemy.”
So happiness could come from our own experiences of life : see what makes you happy, try to analyse the reasons and decisions which lead to this state of happiness. Identify them to be able to repeat them more often in your life.
Then, the answer seems clear and simple : happiness is only dependent on our mental outlook!
The long lasting happiness can only come from you. You can’t place you happiness is someone else’s hands, it has to come from you. You can’t entrust the most important part of your life to someone else’s will without experiencing deep disappointments.
Why happiness can’t come from our surroundings ?
“People around you can give everything to you, they can spend money for you and repeat everyday how much they love you but that’s not enough for human being to be happy !”
Knowing that, we can understand easily why, in our modern societies, the depression, sadness and angriness are so strongly present in our hearts. Because we are always waiting for happiness to come from outside sources, we are passively (and maybe a by laziness and lack of times) waiting for happiness to join our life without doing any effort !
Buddha gave us the way to “eradicate reasons of suffering by finding them and fight against them” but he can only show us the path, this fight can only be led by ourselves and no one can do it for us !
By developing this awareness we could stop complaining and start finding solutions “better to light a candle than curse the darkness”.
What is unconditional love ?
It’s the opposite of business love : “I love you SO you have to …”.
Unconditional love is to love someone else the same way you do with yourself. It can be expressed by trying your best to make your love benefit others and not the other way around.
Unconditional love can be linked with the love we give to a new-born : he is helpless, he has nothing to give back but he needs somebody’s love. This feeling is so powerful, and you can experience it when you feel vulnerable, that’s when we need unconditional love from another human being.
“Unconditional love can save humanity” Ok, that’s a great idea but how exactly does that work ?
How can emotional intelligence save the world ?
“Emotional intelligence is the awareness of your mind, the ability to transform negativity in positivity. It’s the will to make your human life happy and worth it !”
Duration of life is known: from birth to death
Death is definite, but time of death is indefinite.
The question is how are you going to make your journey on this planet?
Pollution, disease, destruction, wars are man made by clever human being who think they can manage without love ! But all troubles come from not having the feeling of unconditional love.
These clever men forgot one important thing : “You don’t have to kill them, they will die anyway”
Let’s take an example : nuclear bomb can destroy the whole planet just by pressing a button… Maybe, but it’s just an idea, we need to slow down and take a moment to focus on unconditional love.
Some say they lost hope because things are degenerating, but it’s up to us to don’t be part of it, to refuse to be accomplice with things we do not agree with. Just smiling can create rippel effect going all around the world but someone need to start this chain reaction, and this someone can be you, right now, today, here !
How can we make a difference on our everyday life ?
By adopting these 3 mental outlooks : Positive lights, Become Compassionate, Change the world.
Life is adoration, living every and each moment happily, learn how to enjoy, be awake !
Live like small kids, they always live in the present moment. And young children know exactly how to love, how to forgive, how to deal with up and downs… Biologically love and affection are good for our bodies. It’s natural, we are all seeking for happiness but we just forgot our natural instincts and we let business and wrong images of success blurry our minds with negative thoughts and self-limitation.
What is anger ?
“Anger is a poison, caused by dysfunctional emotion. It’s a source of energy, true ! But a blinded energy when you use it you can’t be sure to hit the target. That’s why positive energy is more effective than anger.”
Anger is the root of our modern problem “not knowing how to live alone, not knowing how to live with another”.
How to deal with ups and downs in life without getting angry ?
Knowing that ups and downs are part of human life, we need to find a peaceful way to deal with them.
Buddha teaching says
“if it’s something you can change, don’t worry because you can change it. If it’s something you cannot change then don’t worry because your worry won’t change it”
But how in our everyday life can we find happiness when we are feeling down ? Geshe Lakor answer is simple but very efficient :
Imagine yourself as a dog in the street, trying to find food, a place to sleep, a bit of love… Realise then your luck to be a human being, don’t take all your luck for granted. The main objective of life is to succeed see beauty in darkness
What about death in this seek of happiness ?
Don’t worry about death, if you live well, death will take care of itself. You must die happy and live happy
How should we educate and transmit the message to our younger generation ?
What are we going to leave for our children we say we love so much ? House, car, heritage ? That’s not going to bring long lasting happiness in their lives. We should think of building a strong way of thinking for them.
The word final word ?
Your expression of inside happiness is your ornament, your inside beauty, your outside prettiness, it can’t’ be stolen and can’t be bought !
happiness, Buddhist teachings