“We convert pain into suffering in the mind,” Dalai Lama says in his book, “The Art of Happiness.” This book written by Dalai Lama, in collaboration with Psychologist H.C. Cutler, focuses on unraveling the mystery around the ultimate human quest – the pursuit of happiness. “What is the meaning of happiness,” and “How can we find happiness in modern times,” are the two major questions the book tries to explain in simple, yet profound language.
We all want to be happy.
This is something that cuts across every heart, every soul in this world. But even though the goal is clear almost all of us falters in our quest for happiness. This challenge presents itself not only to the poor and unfortunate, but also the rich and successful who, on the surface, appears to have every means of happiness. Yet, scratch beneath the filtered snaps on Facebook and Instagrams, and you’ll find, more often than not, heavy hearts and tired souls.
Developing compassion is sighted as the most fundamental principle in our quest for happiness. Only if we learn to develop compassion for other people around us that one can ease the pain in his own heart. “With this context,” Dalai Lam says, “it becomes very important to understand the meaning of pain and its role in our lives.” The modern day media has made us believe to be free from pain, to be in a state of eternal pleasure, which has misled us to believe it to be something that we should have twenty-four by seven.
The true happiness is independent of all that
And what more, even in the pain, and its offspring – suffering, one can find happiness if one learns to change their perspective. The book brings out various technique which on practicing can learn to find happiness through this perspective shift.
I came across the book through a conversation I had with an American Lady in one of the online blogging platforms. She took up Buddhism at the dawn of her career as a scientist at NASA and had immensely benefited when she was having difficulty seeing the end of the career which had become her life.
“Happiness lies within,” she had emphasized on this point which is so beautifully brought out in the book. We all have the capacity to be happy, in whatever situation we might be in. Viktor Frankl writes in his autobiography as the survivor of the Holocaust, recounts how people with superior builts failed to survive inhumane conditions in the camp as compared to the people who found meaning even in that suffering.
It’s a very powerful example which is very well explained and illustrated in the book. The books have even more relevance in today’s culture where our minds and bodies are in perpetual motion, not finding even a second to take rest, to meditate.