Developing Happiness - Foundations Part 2

Feb 14, 2010 -

Matthieu Ricard, a cell biologist turned Buddhist monk and also dubbed by popular media as the “happiest person in the world”, gave a presentation consistent with my thoughts in my previous post. He discusses with Google employees the ramifications of depending on the achievement of our wishes and passions to achieve happiness. “If we were to convince ourselves that satisfaction of 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.”

While it is important to have possessions and goals to the extent in which one can live a comfortable life, the way in which one obtains these can negatively affect the mind. I had previously discussed my chase for the “next big thing”; first came the ranked school, then a prestigious job, and finally my pursuit of a large material possession. While all of which, were pursued to achieve a self-sustaining living, they were also justified through the belief that the achievement of these goals would bring sustaining happiness. It didn’t matter if I sacrificed my social enjoyment so long as I was able to achieve what I sought after; I believed I would achieve happiness. Evidently, I felt pure jubilation at the moment my wish was satisfied. However, in the long run, I didn’t particularly feel any happier than before. I was looking externally to achieve happiness. I have had it backwards. “Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things.”

In order to achieve inner fulfillment, we must become familiar with our minds. Like exercising a muscle, you too can achieve strength in exercising the mind. It’s not so much completing crossword puzzles or solving riddles, but building finding that inner potential through meditation.

Incidentally, he has also written a book based on the above, entitled "Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill".


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