Jan 13, 2008

Zen & the art of Happiness

I just finished Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss. According to the book, the main key to happiness is to just be happy. (Yeah, that sounds weird!) But how do you go about doing that? Well, whatever the situation, just adopt the belief "Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that can happen to me." And no matter what situation you are in, look at it from the viewpoint of that belief. When you do this, you not only are more happy (with less stress), but you open yourself up to solutions to the "problem."

Now you might have a hard time taking up this belief -- especially when things aren't going so well. But, Chris gives an amazing insight into how this can be true. He states that the above belief is really an Universal law. And that all Universal laws "are in favor of the continuation of the Universe." And since the Universe want to keep going, to keep expanding, it'll only allow the best possible events to happen -- only the perfect events to happen. Because, once it allows an imperfect event to occur, they that event might lead to two imperfect events and so on, and the Universe might come to an end because of that. So anything that happens to you, is really the Perfect Thing that can happen to you!!

So some inspiring quotes:

The Zen of doing anything is doing it with a particular concentration of mind, a calmness and simplicity of mind, that brings the experience of enlightenment and, through that experience, happiness. [p 10]
A situation only becomes favorable when one adapts to it. [p 88]
How you conduct yourself along the path that is your life determines how your life unfolds. [p 94]
The Universe always strikes you at your weakest point because that's what most needs strengthening. [p 116]
Events are the language of the Universe. [p 134]
What good will come from this? [p 141]

In the middle of the book, Chris talks about his son's addiction to drugs. He narrates a difficult story of the ups and downs of this son's life during that time -- and his (the son's) inability to break the addiction. Finally, the story ends abruptly -- Chris states that his son had a reason (an underlying cause) to use drugs and only after the reason was discovered, was he able to stop his addiction. Thus father and son, with their experience were able to open up Passages Malibu, a holistic addiction cure center. I was kind frustrated by the fact that Chris doesn't really give the crux of the solution -- what his son's reason was and how to go about finding that reason. Instead he refers readers to his other book, The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure: A Holistic Approach to Total Recovery. Well, after reading the book -- I'm not frustrated by the above -- its the best thing that could've happened -- now I have a great opportunity to read a book on addiction & its cure. I wonder "What good will come from this?" [p 141]

Update: Here is one other thing I got from this book -- my thought: "Pretend you have your dream Job (or dream Life) and do the things you would do if you actually had that Job (or Life)."