I really love the articles at PickTheBrain and this one titled The 6 Components of a Happy Life, is no exception. Tejvan Pettinger from the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre in Oxford asks:
“What is the definition of happiness? Why do some people seem to have the secret to happiness, while others struggle to gain any satisfaction?”
- Simplicity – It’s good to know the route to happiness isn’t difficult and as it turns out it’s already here (now)!.Â Â As the Buddha says, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”Â Â Â Anytime I spend too much time worrying about the past or imagining future events (that may or may not happen), I find my inner peace slipping away.Â Â Like a planned trip across town, the past and the future are fine places to visit occasionally, but I don’t have permission to live there.
- Live in the Heart – For me, I’d call this one “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Put in Charge of Your Life.”Â Â Â Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent years pouring knowledge and experiences into my mind and there are perfectly appropriate times when careful thought and intellect are exactly what’s required.Â Â Â However, when I forget that non-intellectual side of myself, I can easily find myself judging others or trying to direct other peoples lives.Â Â Â While accepting others doesn’t always mean embracing their beliefs, tolerance of diverse views does relieve me of the stress related to that desire to fix someone or prove them wrong.
- Control Over Your Thoughts – In hundreds of texts, the power of positive thought is everywhere.Â Recognizing negative thoughts and taking evasive action has been a difficult skill to acquire, but those days when I was ruled by stream of consciousness were brutal.
- Gratitude – It helps me that the word “atitude” is embedded in “gratitude.” Â In popular media and from the mouths of far too many people I know, come stories of worry and fear, tales of scarcity or future calamity.Â Â If I can remain grateful for what I have my perspective on almost any problem I encounter positions me for success.
- Active – I found this title a little misleading, but he quickly tied it to “usefully serving others” and what I read as selflessness or the balanced-ego. While I rarely had problems achieving goals, it was often difficult to choose the “right” goals. When I choose service to others, I never feel like my time is wasted.
- Physical Exercise – I would broaden this to include taking care of ourselves physically. Moderation in diet and drink, regular health maintenance with a professional of your choice, along with an exercise program appropriate for your lifestyle and age are ALL great ways to prepare the body for calm and happy “be-ing.”
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