All living beings have the same basic wish to be happy and avoid suffering, but very few people understand the real causes of happiness and suffering.
We generally believe that external conditions such as food, friends, cars, and money are the real causes of happiness, and as a result we devote nearly all our time and energy to acquiring these. Superficially it seems that these things can make us happy, but if we look more deeply we shall see that they also bring us a lot of suffering and problems.
Happiness and suffering are opposites, so if something is a real cause of happiness it cannot give rise to suffering. If food, money, and so forth really are causes of happiness, they can never be causes of suffering; yet we know from our own experience that they often do cause suffering.
For example, one of our main interests is food, but the food we eat is also the principal cause of most of our ill health and sickness. In the process of producing the things we feel will make us happy we have polluted our environment to such an extent that the very air we breathe and the water we drink now threaten our health and well-being.
We love the freedom and independence a car can give us, but the cost in accidents and environmental destruction is enormous. We feel that money is essential for us to enjoy life, but the pursuit of money also causes immense problems and anxiety. Even our family and friends, with whom we enjoy so many happy moments, can also bring us a lot of worry and heartache.
In recent years our understanding and control of the external world have increased considerably, and as a result we have witnessed remarkable material progress; but there has not been a corresponding increase in human happiness.
There is no less suffering in the world today, and there are no fewer problems. Indeed, it could be said that there are now more problems and greater unhappiness than ever before. This shows that the solution to our problems, and to those of society as a whole, does not lie in knowledge or control of the external world.
Why is this? Happiness and suffering are states of mind, and so their main causes cannot be found outside the mind. The real source of happiness is inner peace.
If our mind is peaceful, we shall be happy all the time, regardless of external conditions, but if it is disturbed or troubled in any way, we shall never be happy, no matter how good our external conditions may be.
External conditions can only make us happy if our mind is peaceful.
When things go wrong in our life and we encounter difficult situations, we tend to regard the situation itself as our problem, but in reality whatever problems we experience come from the side of the mind.
If we responded to difficult situations with positive or peaceful mind they would not be problems for us. Eventually we might even regard them as challenges or opportunities for growth and development.
Problems arise only if we respond to difficulties with a negative state of mind. Therefore, if we want to be free from problems, we must transform our mind.
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Cool!!! Manga Azah
| Jan 18th, 2007
This is good thinking Finley.This makes me proud of you.For real
HOLY BOOKS... our peace of mind.(isiaih 48:17) Jerry
| Jan 19th, 2007
That's quite true, Peace excels from the inner heart. The material things that our society provides only gives us temporary happiness per-say.
But our mind alone cannot give us inner peace. WHAT CONTROLS THE MIND? the ideas that stem from our hearts are being guided by SOMETHING. I feel a trained mind gives peace, and if untrained can give any adverse effect.
THe Holy Books can train our minds to be peaceful, cos it contains things which would make us develop and build a happy mind. For example, am a Christian and in the Bible Book of Isiaih 48:17, it says that 'If only we observe and obey Jehovah's commandments, then our Peace would be like a River and our Righteousness like the waves of the Sea'. So observing and obeying Jah's commandments would gratify our having Absolute Inner Peace.
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