Sunday, August 3, 2008

Source of Happiness -2-

Since I had read “The Thought of the Week” on our Buddhist Center homepage for this week, which is “The source of happiness is the ability to feel gratitude”, it has really become “My Though of the Week”. I have been more reflective this week and tried to look for “the source of happiness” around myself.

Then I found a message attached at the end of an email from one Professor at the University of California, Irvine. The message is “Three Sources of Lasting Happiness” at the end of his email.  The sender is Dr. Roger Walsh, Professor of psychiatry, philosophy, and anthropology at the UCI, who is the author of Essential Spirituality. I happened to meet him on campus at one occasion.

His message is:

Everyone wants to be happy but what makes for lasting happiness? Interestingly, research is now validating ancient wisdom in many ways. Money, for example, is surprisingly ineffective-- it can alleviate the suffering of deprivation, but above a certain minimum does precious little to increase lasting happiness.
So what does work? Many things will bump up happiness temporarily, but long term is a very different matter. Researchers have found three things that succeed in doing this. What are they?
1) Cultivating gratitude, and particularly effective is writing down something each day for which you feel grateful.
2) Reframing difficult experiences in a positive way. This, of course, is the old practice of looking for the silver lining.
3) Generosity. The old wisdom is true--in giving to others we give to ourselves, and the happy result is what's called a "helper's high."
May you be happy!

These three things have universal values. They are applicable to anyone. I found myself very fortunate, as I have learned these points in Buddhist tradition and been incorporating them in my everyday life. How grateful it is!

I would like to add one YOUTUBE film here, which inspires us to be more aware of the blessings we have now.

The Story of A Sign

In deep respect,

Shoko Mizutani

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