Health & Medical Self-Improvement

Paradox of Happiness - Learning From Eastern Spiritual Traditions

My view on happiness is informed by the Eastern spiritual traditions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Sufism.
I'm also clear that all spiritual/religious systems share the same principles.
I like this Taoist quote as it applies to happiness...
It is only when you seek it that you lose it.
You cannot take hold of it, nor can you get rid of it; While you can do neither, it goes on its own way.
You remain silent and it speaks; you speak and it is silent.
Seeking happiness leads to more seeking.
It's like chasing a carrot at the end of a stick.
Happiness is not about doing.
It's not a getting to phenomenon.
It is a coming from phenomenon.
It occurs in the domain of being Ok.
That sounds great! But what do I need to do to be happy.
What's the recipe? Tell me how.
This leads to more of the same as in the definition of insanity -- "doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.
" Well, one of the Buddha's "Noble Truths" is that man is ignorant.
We do notknow who we really are and relate to each other as "skin bags" - separate from one another.
This is the source of suffering.
And until we get who we truly are, authentic happiness is not possible.
The Terror of "No-Self" When I was about eleven years old, I realized that some day, I was going to die.
The thought of this terrorized me, depressed me and I felt very anxious.
It has continued to haunt me until the last ten years or so, where I have come to understand and appreciate the source of the fear.
A more accurate way of expressing this is that I got it.
Through the different spiritual teachings and practices I have been engaged in, I realize I have identified with whoever/whatever I consider Fred to be - that death means that Fred will not be around forever.
Fred is his body, thoughts, feelings, emotions, roles and responsibilities.
All spiritual traditions say that there is no-self - only consciousness, or everything/nothing or source, which is eternal.
That is who we are.
So when I die, "who dies"? As an executive coach, I work with business owners and executives, who are for the most part driven by their work and want to succeed.
They already may be successful but not fulfilled and happy.
Something is missing, as in the Peggy Lee song, "Is that all there is?" As a way for them to be more at peace, less preoccupied with "busyness" and happier, I challenge them to sit for five minutes each day for one week, in which they need to be in a quiet environment, with their eyes closed.
They are to focus on their breath and when thoughts arise, they are to come back to their breath.
In the twelve years I haveoffered this challenge, not one of my clients has completed it.
I suspect that when they are present to their thoughts and feelings, they start to come into the terror (anxiety of "nothingness") that I haveexperienced, which is too much for them to bear.
They do not realize that the best way out of an unwanted state is to dive thoroughly into it.
On the other side is peace, fulfillment, freedom and happiness.


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