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)!. As the Buddha says, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” 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. 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.” 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. However, when I forget that non-intellectual side of myself, I can easily find myself judging others or trying to direct other peoples lives. 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. 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.” 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. 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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