Happiness by Matthieu Ricard

One is not born wise; one becomes it

For those of you following my posts on Matthieu Ricard’s book HAPPINESS

Happiness by Matthieu Ricard Exercise 1

A couple of years ago I came across a newspaper article : Happiest man in the world which I cut out and kept to re-read….so when I was browsing my local library (one of my favourite activites!) and spotted “Happiness, A guide to developing life’s most important skill” by Matthieu Ricard I immediately grabbed the book off the shelf! In the following weeks I will share excerpts from this book as I only just started reading it and realised it is a treasure trove ….

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO BE HAPPY

When Kant insists that happiness is the condition of one for whom “everything goes according to his wish and will” we have to wonder about the mystery whereby anything might “go” according to our wishes and will. If the satisfaction of all our desires were achievable, it would lead not to happiness but to the creation of new desires or, just as likely, to indifference, disgust, or even depression. Why depression? If we were to convince ourselves that satisfying all our whims would make us happy, the collapse of that delusion would make us doubt the very existence of happiness. If I have more than I could possibly need and I am still not happy, happiness must be impossible. That’s a good example of how far we can go in fooling ourselves about the cause of happiness.   The fact is that without inner peace and wisdom, we have nothing we need to be happy.   Happiness is a state of inner fulfilment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desire for outward things.

DOES OUR HAPPINESS DEPEND ON THAT OF OTHERS?

Even if we display every outward sign of happiness, we can never be truly happy of we dissociate ourselves from the happiness of others. This in no way requires us to neglect our own happiness.

The goal of life is a deep state of well-being and wisdom at all moments, accompanied by love for every being. 

 

EXERCISE

Examining the cause of happiness

  • take a quiet moment alone and try to find out what really makes you happy. Is your happiness derived mainly from outer circumstances?
  • how much of it is due to your state of mind and the way you experience the world?
  • if happiness comes from outer circumstances, check how stable or fragile they are
  • if it is due to a state of mind, consider how you can further cultivate it.

See you next week for the next exercise!