Happiness and the Feel Good Feeling

Part 3 of a series If past and future lives exist, then the learning that comes from the changes and decisions we have made in previous times would influence our choices right now, isn't that so? However, if past and future lives do not exist, then it is even more important that we make careful choices based on experiences in this life as well as observations of others' mistakes. If past and future lives do not exist, then the careful choices that we make by analyzing others' successes and failures, as well as our own should be made as quickly as possible, so we can enjoy this one life we have!

On the other hand, again, if past and future lives do exist, then how extremely valuable it would be to finally gain understanding of the nature of how you exist and halt the suffering of deep confusion that has driven you to harm yourself and others. This harm from confusion needs to end or it will go on lifetime after lifetime in useless activities and useless pursuits of illusory happiness like drinking salt water to quench your thirst. How marvelous that day will be, to actualize the positive benefit of the efforts of previous lives. How wonderful to be the one that will finally quiet that suffering that you have experienced in many, many, many lives!

How to find true happiness: Seek the well being of others as a method for gaining freedom from grasping. This is the very cultivated and traditional Buddhist method to reduce grasping. Suffering ordinary beings live a vacillation between knowing that something is wrong and the view that there is something out there that will make them feel good.. This is painful because while this dysfunctional vacillation is happening, you are required to deeply look at yourself in order to compare the vision of what you are experiencing inside versus outside.

You have the vision that there is something out there that will end your suffering that has become exacerbated by vacillation. In order to gain that prize, you will need to continuously check, "Is this the thing?" Then you go out to the world, asking, "Is that the thing? Is this the thing? Is this still the thing here? Does that match what I am seeing here inside?" You are placing projections on your outer world and others in order to comply with the vision that you hold of what will satisfy you. In this way, we literally attempt to recreate the world outside in order to satisfy this dynamic of making it the thing that we are looking for.

We miss the opportunity of being alive because of focusing instead on trying to satisfy this particular aspect of innate grasping. This model is based on misknowledge of how we are alive. We can see it in our own life and even more easily in the lives of others. We can read storybooks and gain a more objective viewpoint when it is happening to someone else. Sitting in a nice winged-back chair reading about the grasping of others helps us understand more objectively how they became so confused. Really, storybooks are very nice for that purpose.

We did not have storybooks in Tibet like you have here, and occasionally I quite enjoy reading stories about how confused people can become, by applying perceptions and misknowledge, while perpetrating grasping strategies. It is like a soap opera, you know it is going to go wrong. You know that Suzie and Bob are going to have a problem. You say to your TV, "Oh, do not do that! Do not go in that room, and do not say that to Bob!" But in she goes, and the series goes on for 20 years because they cannot stop grasping!

Traditional Buddhist teachings encourage us to look at a different object inside ourself, and that object is others and not self. The sophistication of this view is, that others are not out there but inside you but are not you. When we become proficient, we lose the connection to, or the attraction toward the grasping mind, and suddenly we feel happy. When you stop looking at yourself, you suddenly feel happy. Therefore, we feel that this looking at one's self, staring at one's self, is the actual problem.

Many beginner or medium practitioners say they want to be of benefit to others. Sometimes I ask, "Why? Why do you want to be of benefit to others?" They usually say, "Because it makes me feels good. It feels good to help others." This is not the method to make us feel good and happy by seeking the feel-good feeling of helping others. It is the stopping looking at ourselves that makes us feel happy. It is actually the only thing that makes us feel happy, as human beings.

It is like being on a vacation that rests your mind. Stopping looking at yourself…Just think of the time and money you could save on airfare going to the Bahamas, or flying halfway around the world. Just stop looking at yourself! You will become relaxed and happy. In five minutes, you could be ready to go back to work after taking a one hundred year vacation from the grasping mind. The first time it happens, you will be very surprised. You will feel as though you are liberated. It is the most marvelous happy feeling that you can have as a human being.

In addition, we need to work toward the valuable goal of reducing anger that will definately produce a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. This is another valuable goal among others including actually working toward valuable goals as a source of happiness. To the extent that we can reduce anger, even a little bit, we gain a sense of lightness in body and mind, and happiness begins to look at you again! To be continued….

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