My fifth book is Ultimate Happiness: Best Proven Western and Eastern Insights about How to Be Happier Today. It is available at Amazon for a price that is below my cost.
Western definitions of happiness include words like enjoyment, pleasure, satisfaction, cheerfulness, and fortunate. Beyond these terms used by dictionaries, some researchers use words like amusement, the light, excitement, awe/wonder, sensory pleasures, and calm peacefulness.
In contrast, Eastern definitions see happiness differently. This is especially true when pleasure is seen as a part of happiness. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama provides the following perspective.
“We should distinguish pleasure from happiness. Happiness is understood here to refer to a deep sense of fulfillment, accompanied by a sense of peace and a host of positive qualities such as altruism. Pleasure depends upon the place, the circumstances, and the object of its enjoyment. One can get pleasure at certain times and not at others. It is bound to change. Something that is pleasurable at one moment might soon give rise to indifference, then to displeasure and suffering. Pleasure exhausts itself in the enjoying, just like a candle burns down and disappears.
By contrast, a deep sense of fulfillment does not depend upon time, location, or objects. It is a state of mind that grows the more one experiences it. It is different from pleasure in almost every way. What we seek by disentangling ourselves from the influence of destructive emotions is the kind of inner stability, clarity, and fulfillment that we are referring to here as happiness.”
From both my studies and personal experience, I draw the following conclusions in my book.
“Happiness is an inner experience. Today most people rely on external stimulus for happiness. This misplaced focus is the cause of so much unhappiness. When we turn the spotlight of our attention inward, we achieve our greatest progress. All the skills we need to achieve ultimate happiness are the skills of mastering our mind.”
As I will share in future blogs, both Western researchers and Eastern teachers have insights and understandings that can help make us happier today. In my book I sure the best insights from both perspectives.