The art of happiness

Ahanu

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This book is informative. I was suprised to find out that the Dalai Lama said, "No," when he was asked if he is ever lonely.

No?

I read the line about 3 or four times in suprise. People who have suffered from social phobia often experience loneliness. Even if they had it in the past or presently do.

Here are some problems which lonely people have problems with. . .

. . .self disclosure, difficulty communicating with others, are poor listeners, and lack certain social skills such as picking up conversational cues.

One way to get rid of these negative mental states, which keep one away from true happiness, is to realize the usefulness of compassion. From a buddhist perspective, anybody want to share how they would overcome these problems?
 
Perhaps one might try to maintain mindfulness more and develop a greater sense of "other" rather than "self" in determining your behaviours...

Meditation is the foundation of the "Buddhist perspective" but it is manifested in action.

Big question you've asked there, I think.

s.
 
From a buddhist perspective, anybody want to share how they would overcome these problems?

The goal of Pema Chodron's work is to "apply Buddhist teachings in everyday life" so perhaps they might be beneficial.

Her books include:

The Compassion Box - includes Start Where You Are, a set of 59 slogan cards with brief commentaries, and a CD of meditation instruction.

- and -

Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living.


Her audio recordings include:



Awakening Compassion.

s.
 
That takes it's toll.

I can see your point. But perhaps maintaining something that ultimately is not real (the "self") takes constant effort, and therefore a constant toll. To drop this may mean real liberation.

s.
 
http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/what-are-you-watching-on-7494-18.html#post149737

I think this new post in the youtube thread sounds related to what Snoopy just said. The speaker is a neuro-biologist who experienced a large blood clot on the left side of her left brain hemisphere. She says she experienced Nirvana.

This is completely amazing, Dream. Thank you for posting it. Obviously no-one is recommending having a stroke but it makes you think what is the purpose of the left hemisphere? I suppose it keeps us functioning in the mundane, but creates all our problems by generating our egos. Again, amazing and thanks.

s.
 
I can see your point.

Why have my trousers fallen down? No they're up! I can see there up... OH! I see your point!


I can see your point. But perhaps maintaining something that ultimately is not real (the "self") takes constant effort, and therefore a constant toll. To drop this may mean real liberation.

s.

By joves, I think e's got it!
 
This is completely amazing, Dream. Thank you for posting it. Obviously no-one is recommending having a stroke but it makes you think what is the purpose of the left hemisphere? I suppose it keeps us functioning in the mundane, but creates all our problems by generating our egos. Again, amazing and thanks.

s.
I've noticed that left brain functions become somewhat retarded, while right brain functions are enhanced during PMS. (Is that Nirvana and liberation?) :eek:
 
It was actually Tao_Equus who posted that video in the youtube thread, amazingly just in time for this one. He's been trying to leave the forum, but I don't think he can. I don't think its in his Mandlebrot set for him to leave.

Seattlegal said:
I've noticed that left brain functions become somewhat retarded, while right brain functions are enhanced during PMS. (Is that Nirvana and liberation?)
That is very interesting. It sounds a lot like the effects of Transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
This book is informative. I was surprised to find out that the Dalai Lama said, "No," when he was asked if he is ever lonely.
I think attachment to other beings (e.g., desire for a partner) and undue dependence on others for self-esteem and direction are some possible sources of loneliness and unhappiness.

My hunch is that the craving for existence and self -- which tend to get expressed in how relationships are handled -- keeps people from getting much satisfaction from those relationships. I think it's a unique characteristic of Buddhism to recognize that there is suffering even when there is ample opportunity to meet one's needs and wants.

Which reminds me: someone suggested that rich people are cranky because they got the best of everything only to find out it wouldn't satisfy them after all.
 

I think attachment to other beings (e.g., desire for a partner) and undue dependence on others for self-esteem and direction are some possible sources of loneliness and unhappiness.

My hunch is that the craving for existence and self -- which tend to get expressed in how relationships are handled -- keeps people from getting much satisfaction from those relationships. I think it's a unique characteristic of Buddhism to recognize that there is suffering even when there is ample opportunity to meet one's needs and wants.

Which reminds me: someone suggested that rich people are cranky because they got the best of everything only to find out it wouldn't satisfy them after all.

Interesting. If you extend this concept to an attachment to God, would this then be a possible explanation for "The Dark Night of the Soul?"
 
Thank you, Seattlegal.

I'm trying to be accurate. I think this is more accurate: my attachment to my idea of a person and to my expectation about how the person should meet my selfish needs could be a possible source of loneliness and unhappiness for me.

As P.A. Payutto observes:"Suffering arises from adherence to the idea of self or ownership. If things were really the self or owned by the self, then they could be controlled at will." Clearly, that it not the case, so that means we are dealing with a delusion... at least in situations where the individual has little or no control.... which is much of the time, especially in situations involving other people.

However, the limited control we exercise in some situations does not constitute ownership. The fact remains, "nothing can ever really belong to the self." Possessions come closest to being objects we "own" as part of the self. But they are prone to decay and destruction. Besides, we quickly get bored with them.

P.A. Payutto also observes that:"The feeling of ownership or control over things may at times seem to be well-founded, but it can never be totally or completely real, with the result that clinging and the struggle to reaffirm the sense of self are intensified." These increased entanglements are perhaps most obvious in relationships - possibly because people are especially unpredictable and hard to control.

Nevertheless, our most important relationships with significant others are subject to these intensifications. Due to the amount of idealization, romantic relationships in particular are highly prone to complications and frustrations.

My hunch is that the craving for existence and self -- which tend to get expressed in how relationships are handled -- keeps people from getting much satisfaction from those relationships.
I'd add that there is nothing wrong with enjoying other people. The problem lies in seeing them in terms of what we want them to be (or how we want to use them for our selfish purposes) instead of loving them for who they are (Martin Buber's I-Thou). That's how it is in the World of Taking-and-Being-Taken.

We all know it's totally possible to feel very lonely in a group of people due to an inability to connect with them. So obviously proximity to other beings is not the issue. Not understanding and not communicating may be issue. This in turn could reflect on an inability to relate to other due to exessive involvement with self.

The problem is with being attached to our own mental imagery, which keeps us from seeing things as they really are and enjoying them for what they are. The situation as largely self-perpetuating and hard to break out of.

For example, someone might have expecations of another person as source of selfish satisfaction. That expectation is seen as being part of the self system. Attempts to get a match to the expectation will likely chase this other person away. Clinging and craving, which would include misguided efforts to gain possession as well as the fearful idea of losing the person, will tend to color the relationship in unfortunate ways. Studies of narcissistic personality traits should provide insights in this area.

At the bottom of it all, I think is the clinging to self (Attavadupadana) which causes the person to see the world strictly in terms of their selfish needs. This attachment can be delusional in that one might think it possible to "have" or own another person -- or at least be able to direct them enough to where they will be a more or less permanent part of the walking-talking hodgepodge of "clinging-khandhas" that I mistakenly see as my "self."

Karen Horney said "a neurotic is someone who identifies with their thoughts and equates their thoughts with self." I think you could see this as an idolatry of ignorance because the individual is in effect attached to delusional worldview in which ephemeral mentalisms are taken to have substance. Mmm. Maybe idolatry IS ignorance.




 
Interesting. If you extend this concept to an attachment to God, would this then be a possible explanation for "The Dark Night of the Soul?"
Religious commitments have ultimacy. They are perceived as solutions to the problems of being human. The desire for G-d's love can actually be a type of craving and for that reason become an issue. It may be idolatry in disguise. There may be excess involvement with self (spiritual pride) or misguided efforts to manipulate G-d (a kind of greed).


When the transformative union happens, it is because the self and the attachments associated with self have been overcome. Based on St. John's description, that's when
it is God Who is now working in the soul; He binds its interior faculties, and allows it not to cling to the understanding, nor to have delight in the will, nor to reason with the memory. For anything that the soul can do of its own accord at this time serves only, as we have said, to hinder inward peace and the work which God is accomplishing in the spirit by means of that aridity of sense.
I don't think it's actually possible to become attached to one's love of G-d because a genuine love of G-d is pure and dispells attachment. On the other hand, I think it is very possible to have spiritual cravings and become entangled by a desire for G-d's love.
 
Thanks for the replies. . .

I think it has become a behavioral habit for me. I was thinking about Lazarus who reportedly had leoprasy. People with leoprasy may have their bones showing for all to see, their fingers may fall off, or their hands could slowly reach into a fire to grab something out, but they do not feel that physical pain! Likewise, I can recall people asking me personal questions in a face-to-face conversation, and if it involves some type of mental pain, then I will quickly ignore, or avoid, truly talking about whatever was just asked. It is like I ignore the pain that is there. I fail to respond to it. I know for a fact that people can feel my apathy. Some of the Dalai Lama's advice for this is to "reflect on how you feel when someone is kind to you." It makes me think about the suffering I cause others by not being open to them.

"To kill apathy for action one needs to constantly remind oneself of the destructive effects of negative behavior."

Also, it causes me to think more deeply about how the other person feels in order for me to build a deeper connection with others. I think this will help in not allowing me to make others into what I want them to be.

Here are some steps I have in my notes for overcoming these negative mindstates.

1. Learning
2. Developing conviction, or a sense of urgency
3. Determination to change
4. Action
 
Never read a thread as this creating such complexities out of nowt. :)

Happiness rises outside the realms of complex...... it is not a complex thing.

But if you want.......
It is a matter of discarding the layers of should and should not towards the simplicity of the core of inner being where life is spontaneous, acting without external cause, gracefully natural and unconstrained..........

Happiness is opening to love and inner God space where life flows outward generating the positive.

- c -
 
Happiness rises outside the realms of complex...... it is not a complex thing.

Yeah, but humans are complex. We have complex emotions. We must identify the weeds and pull them out, so that happiness may grow. For example, saying, "you need to be happy" is like saying, "you need to love." Hello, I think it is more complex than that (;)). However, I see what you are saying.
 
Yeah, but humans are complex. We have complex emotions. We must identify the weeds and pull them out, so that happiness may grow. For example, saying, "you need to be happy" is like saying, "you need to love." Hello, I think it is more complex than that (;)). However, I see what you are saying.

Ahanu,

What do you notice first, the weeds or the flowers? :)

- c -
 
Never read a thread as this creating such complexities out of nowt. :)
Umm, what is the rationale for Bhakti Yoga?

Happiness rises outside the realms of complex...... it is not a complex thing.
True but that's not incompatible with a need to understand the causes for unhappiness.

Consider Soul Ties. Bonds between people can be very powerful. Arguably, they make the world go round. Sometimes unwholesome intentions create bonds, which then become forms of bondage and unfortunate existence. It helps a lot to recognize how this happens. Mindfulness can be a useful way to avoid afflictions and ensure happiness in the long-term.

The effort to understand the causes for unhappiness is not always a matter of second-guessing G-d's blessings and failing to open up out of irrational fear. It can be a way to remain alert to the ever-present possibilities for what Reinhold Niebuhr calls the corruption of love by boundless self-assertion. It's a problem that even the most optimistic religionists can't define out of existence. Obviously, it would be that much more of a problem without Redemption.:D
 
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