The Art of Happiness

The Art of Happiness

  • A Handbook for Living
  • His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutler

To say that this has taken quite a while to finish is something of an understatement. Considering that I received the book as a Christmas present and started reading it at the beginning of the year. The problem has been trying to concentrate enough to read a full page without having to re-read sentences and paragraphs. Not that the text is difficult or that the concepts and ideas are hard to understand it’s just that my mind would wander. I’d read a sentence, then I’d start thinking about other things, work, my career and so on and become angry. I’d keep going over things in my mind, recalling conversations, thinking about what should be said and what should be done. Then I’d remember that I was reading a book, I’d start the paragraph or the page again. After half an hour trying to read a page or two I’d give up.

What I’ve learnt is that I can’t be angry over something that I have absolutely no control over. It’s like being angry at the weather, there’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to accept it and move on. But the act of being angry over something or someone is just the beginning of a downward spiral. It just feeds itself. The more angry you get the more you find things to be angry about. Eventually this self inflicted torture will manifest itself physically, chest pain, headaches, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, thankfully I haven’t suffered from those symptoms.

So receiving and reading the book happened at just the right time. I don’t think that anyone could read it and not get something from it. You can train your mind to be happy but it has to be a sustained effort. It isn’t something that you can just switch on, it will need determination and time to achieve.

  • Reviewed on Sunday, 07 February 2010
  • Tagged with book review