Happiness and How it Happens - a serialisation
19th April 2022
Happiness and How it Happens Part 1
Each week there will be a new chapter added here.
Happiness – our true nature - Introduction.
We all want to be happy, we all want to be free. The purpose of this book is to help you be just this – happy and free. Happiness is for everybody, not just for the select few. We don’t need to live somewhere special, we don’t need to wear special clothes or recite sacred words in sacred places. It is available for each and every one of us, if we are willing to look at ourselves with honesty and courage.
Our true nature
This book is the fruit of my own investigation into that elusive quality we call happiness. It looks at what happiness (and unhappiness) is and is not. Happiness and freedom may not be our present experience, but they can be – and it doesn’t involve years and years of struggling with self-improvement.
The aim of the book and our silent meditation retreats, which are practical in nature, is to show how, through mindfulness meditation and awareness practice, to work with our endlessly chattering minds, embrace difficult emotions such as fear and anger, and see through to our inherent loveliness and the happiness that awaits us. Most of all it shows that awareness is the secret to a life of happiness and freedom, which is available to everyone.
You do not have to be a certain type of person to go on this journey, you don’t have to be ‘spiritual’ or ‘good’ or have particular beliefs. You may have practised meditation in the past, or be completely new to it.
Is this book for you?
The book is intended for you if you are looking for a way to discover the happiness and meaning you know lies within yourself. You may have been involved in conventional religion, or be on a spiritual path of self-improvement. It is for you if you do not want to take on a particular belief system or to live a proscribed life. It is for you if you sense that happiness and freedom are available to all, irrespective of lifestyle and beliefs. It is for you if you sense that there is more to life than endlessly striving to better yourself and getting exhausted in the process. If you know there is more to life than amassing money and spending your way through it, then you will appreciate the message of this book. If you are new to meditation or the pursuit of happiness through inner means, then this book will save you a lot of unnecessary journeying, being clear, direct and simple in its message.
The book covers some very profound concepts found in various religions and philosophies but explains them in clear and uncomplicated terminology, free from religious dogma and doctrine.
Reversing the trend
There is a lot of research into happiness in our society at the moment. Two books worth mentioning here are Richard Layard’s Happiness – Lessons from a New Science and Matthieu Ricard’s Happiness – A Guide to Developing Life’s Greatest Skill. Despite all our riches, the research tells us, we as a society seem to be getting unhappier.
This can of course be addressed to a degree on a collective level. Maybe we could include emotional awareness lessons in schools, which will help us deal with emotional problems throughout our lives. Perhaps we can show our children what is truly important in life – community, friendship, satisfying work, being at ease with yourself. However, no matter how much we can change collectively, we each have to take responsibility for our own happiness. Nobody can do this work for us, nor can anybody stop us doing it. We each need to realize that we can open ourselves to and live from the unconditional happiness that lies within each and every one of us.
Meditation and awareness practice
In Chapter 2 you will learn how to practise mindfulness meditation, the simplest and most profound of practices. I suggest you keep to this as your daily meditation practice – follow the instructions and keep it simple. You will also come across awareness practices throughout the book; here, I suggest you choose one or two at a time and explore them gradually.
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