What is the meaning of happiness for you?
For most of the people, the happiness includes:
- Having constant circumstances in life
- Having excitement to live
- Being passionate about life and the work they do
- Being rich enough to afford anything they want
- Having close and relationships full of love
However, a Zen Buddhist Master named Thich Nhat Hanh, says that these beliefs about happiness are wrong and negatively impacting the lives of many.
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh is a popular spiritual leader and peace activist, known for his powerful teachings on mindfulness and peace. He is also a bestselling author, whom Martin Luther King called “An Apostle of peace and nonviolence”.
In his book titled “The Art of Power”, he explained the true meaning of happiness and the right way to find it.
Below are the two lines that shatter the false beliefs we all have about happiness:
“Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.”
True happiness is based on peace
According to the Zen Master, peace comes when you can accept your true self. However, in the era of social media and growing western culture, everybody is trying to change themselves to please others. These things are useless and impact your inner peace, and eventually the happiness.
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower.
“If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.”
How to accept yourself?
Thich Nhat Hanh says that you can start learning to accept yourself by being mindful. Mindfulness is being at the present moment. Don’t wait for miracles to happen. These are happening all the time around us.
A glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a flower, laughter, and raindrops—all these things are miracles if you embrace the present.
“Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”
Being in the present doesn’t actually mean that you stop thinking about the past and planning for the future. The aim of mindfulness is to protect yourself from regretting the past and worrying about the future. Mindfulness can be achieved by training the mind through meditation.
Powerful quotes from The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh
1. “It is my conviction that there is no way to peace – peace is the way.”
2. “Happiness is possible only when you stop running and cherish the present moment and who you are. Who you are is already a wonder; you don’t need to be someone else. You are a wonder of life.”
3. “If you suffer and make your loved ones suffer, there is nothing that can justify your desire.”
4. “Attachment to views, attachment to ideas, attachment to perceptions are the biggest obstacle to the truth.”
5. “If you are lost in a forest at night, you can follow the North Star to find your way out. You follow the North Star, but your goal is to get back home; it’s not to arrive at the North Star.”
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