HAPPINESS IS AN INSIDE JOB – By Pierre Zimmerman 3/1/22

From The Desk of Pierre Zimmerman: HAPPINESS IS AN INSIDE JOB

We often get disappointed when we don’t get what we want or lose something of value, because we carry within our minds certain “psychic irritants,” sources of suffering triggered by events or our thoughts. Then we try to stop the pain by changing the world around us. It is as if we would cover the whole earth with leather, so that we could walk more comfortably, instead of wearing sandals. We don’t want to let misery blindside us.

Happiness requires practicing mindfulness, a way of training oneself to become aware of things as they really are, a gradual, direct training in how to end dissatisfaction. We rarely want to think about things not going well: tragedy, grief, physical pain, melancholy, loneliness, resentment, the nagging feeling that there could be something better. We think that happiness depends on things unfolding a certain way, but there is something else: a happiness not dependent on conditions. We can find a way out of suffering by confronting the roots of resistance and craving with a strong determination to overcome harmful habits.

Happiness is beyond just the fleeting enjoyments of pleasurable experiences, which are fine, in moderation. Possessions, social approval, the love of friends and family, and a wealth of pleasurable experiences ought to make people happy. What we think should make people happy are in fact often the source of misery, because they never last, and the more we have, the greater the possibility for unhappiness, the lowest form of happiness, depending on conditions being right.

Higher sources of happiness come from generosity, letting go of psychic irritants such as hatred, attachment, jealousy, pride, and confusion, often labeled delusion. Nipping them in the bud allows the mind to become unobstructed, joyful, bright and clear. Our load in life becomes lighter when we disentangle ourselves from years of destructive self-defeating attitudes and behavior.

PZ/3/1/22

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