So You Just Want to be Happy…


Everyone is motivated by a desire for happiness.

How often have you heard yourself saying, “I just want to be happy” or heard others saying it in a         moment of exasperation? This seems like such a simple wish.

But when we start down that path, we inevitably find ourselves deep in self-involvement. Focused on me. I. What I want and don’t want.

The Sakyong in his book Ruling Your World calls this the “me plan.” It’s characterized by the question “what about me?” This “what about me?” sentiment becomes our mantra that resonates “through our day like a heartbeat. We think, ‘Will this food make me happy?’ ‘Will this movie make me happy?’ ‘Will this person make me happy?’ ‘Will this new sweater make me happy?’ ‘What about me?’ becomes the motivating force of our activity.”

The truth of it is, we want to feel pleasure and avoid pain. We want to get what we want, and avoid getting what we do not want. We want fame and to avoid disgrace. We want praise and to avoid blame.

These four pairs of opposites are known in Buddhism as the Eight Worldly Dharmas. The Eight Worldly Dharmas are pairs of opposites that are grounded in hope and fear.

We hope for pleasure, gain, fame and praise and fear pain, loss, disgrace and blame.

These four pairs of opposites are basically the boiled down version of all our human attachments. When you take all of your various issues and boil them down, you will get to one of these four desires or aversions. And when you boil those down further, you will find that at their core is either hope or fear.

When you begin to realize this you begin to see clearly why we suffer; why we are not finding happiness.

So you might say, ok that makes sense. I can see that in my life.

So now what?

Part II to follow in a few days…


Blog By:

Megan Bauer

Center Director

Dallas Shambhala Center

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