Right after spoiling the Term Test – II, I sneak out of the chaos and grabbed ‘The Art of Happiness- A Handbook of Living’ by HH the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler which was lying idly on the shelf after its arrival from Singapore. Thank you Ma’am Rima for this wonderful book and other beautiful and cute stuffs ;) And thanks to Tenzin Chophel for bridging between us.
After spoiling series of exam, I was thoroughly frustrated, tired and honestly unsatisfied with the direction of my academic performance was leading and overall with my life. Like answers to my prayer, solution to my problems, this book made me realize the meaning of the life and illusion I was creating with my negative vibes giving birth to my own suffering and unhappiness.
It is a beautiful book perfectly blending the ‘the art of happiness’ with the spirituality and the modern practices. Unlike other books, I didn’t feel the need to complete it fast. I read, gasped and savour the line and took time in understanding what every line means. That’s the reason why it took more than a week to complete reading it.
“Are you happy?” a simple question of Howard C. Cutler made me think and reflect on myself.
I found myself asking “Am I happy?” Honestly, deep down I wasn’t really happy as I have so many complain, expectations, dissatisfaction, desires and all. As the book unfolded, it explore, dissects the barrier to the happiness and I could relate with content of book.
This book untangles the complexities of life and gives us a recipe of how to be satisfied with life and be happy. It talks about our right to happiness, sources of our happiness and unhappiness. How being content with what we have can generate happiness and comparing and complaining of what we don’t have with others is a source of agony and unhappiness. It talks in depth and how to react or deal with the varieties of feeling such as inner conflict, anger, pain, pleasure, compassion, suffering and hatred, anxiety and in short about the life.
The essence of the book is His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his interviews. His approach to the life is very simple without any pretense. The compassion, tolerance, unbiased nature and his way of viewing the life as it is very inspiring and deeply moving. We might expect such a great spiritual leader to know answers to all our questions but when he answered with his laugh “I don’t know.” I laughed and my respect for him increased exponentially.
This book is worth every seconds I spend reading. It will explore your inner self and will show you a path of happiness. My favorite excerpts from the book are;
1 ~ One morning after his public lecture the Dalai Lama was walking along an outside patio on the way back to his hotel room, surrounded by his usual retinue. Noticing one of the hotels housekeeping staff standing by the elevators, he paused to ask her, "Where are you from?" For a moment she appeared taken aback by this foreign-looking man in the maroon robes and seemed puzzled by the deference of the entourage. Then she smiled and answered shyly, "Mexico." He paused briefly to chat with her a few moments and then walked on, leaving her with a look of excitement and pleasure on her face. The next morning at the same time, she appeared at the same spot with another of the housekeeping staff, and the two of them greeted him warmly as he got into the elevator. The interaction was brief, but the two of them appeared flushed with happiness as they returned to work. Every day after that, they were joined by a few more of the housekeeping staff at the designated time and place, until by the end of the week there were dozens of maids in their crisp gray-and-white uniforms forming a receiving line that stretched along the length of the path that led to the elevators.
2 ~ For example, in my own case, I have lost my most respected tutor, my mother, and also one of my brothers. When they passed away, of course, I felt very, very sad. Then I constantly kept thinking that it’s no use to worry too much, and if I really loved these people, then I must fulfill their wished with a calm mind. So I try must best to do that. So I think if you’ve lost someone who is very dear to you, that’s the proper way to approach it. You see, the best way to keep a memory of that person, the best remembrance, is to see if you can carry on the wishes of that person. - The Dalai Lama.
~ Yourpain is your own creation. If you refrain from reacting in a negative way, let the slander pass by you as if it were a silent wind passing behind your ears, you protect yourself from that feeling of hurt, that feeling of agony. So, although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation. – The Dalai Lama
~ When life becomes too complicated and we feel overwhelmed, it’s often useful just to stand back and remind ourselves of our overall purpose, our overall goal. When faced with a feeling of stagnation and confusion, it may be helpful to take an hour, an afternoon, or even several days to simply reflect on what it is that will truly bring us happiness, and then reset our priorities on the basis of that. This can put our life back in proper context, allow a fresh perspective, and enable us to see which direction to take. – The Dalai Lama