20 Lessons I Learned From The World’s Top Teacher on Happiness
Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea-Shunryu Suzuki
If there’s is one lesson that I would tell my younger self is that happiness is not something to be found, but to be discovered within.
This discovery process is a personal journey that one has to take internally.
Eckart Tolle paints this discovery process very well in his story about a beggar whose life was changed after 30 years of begging.
One day, a stranger walked by. He had nothing to give the beggar but, he was present enough to notice something the beggar had been sitting on all his life.
“I have never opened it.” The beggar was quick to answer “There is nothing inside anyway.”
When the beggar finally opened the rusty box, he was astonished to find that the box was filled with gold.
Like the beggar, we too have been sitting on an inexhaustible gold mine of happiness. All it takes is the courage to be present, and to notice what has always been accessible within.
The 20 lessons I learned about happiness
As you read through these lessons, you will notice that they are all within your power. Your source of happiness is accessible now:
- Be present, and have no urge to hang on to the past, ruminate about the future, or coil away from the present.
- Be free from wanting happiness because when you want, you tell your minds you are incomplete.
- Don’t be consumed by the expectation of getting what you want, or live in constant fear that you will get what you don’t want.
- Take responsibility for your happiness, and don’t leave your happiness to goals that are insatiable, and subject to change.
- Accept things as they are now, and don’t wish they were any different.
- Master your thoughts, and emotions, and don’t allow them to enslave you.
- Relax, and stop trying to manipulate circumstances.
- Learn to rest deeply in the present moment, and know that everything you have ever wanted is right here.
- Train your minds not to judge, and label the present because continuous judgment creates pain, and unhappiness.
- When you find yourself judging or labelling, don’t judge the judgement. This will end the cycle of judgement.
- If all your problems, and perceived causes of suffering were removed from you, and you have not learnt to be more present, and more conscious, you will soon find yourself in a similar set of problems.
- Being present is the new happiness.
- Change the relationship with your thoughts, emotions, pain, suffering, and environment. By not resisting them, you weaken their power over your happiness.
- Learn to be patient with the difficult events in your life.
- Practice compassion for yourself, and others. When you become compassionate you break the cycle of negative thoughts and that moment of shift can help your gain a broad perspective.
- Connect to your essence, and become who you truly are.
- Practice viewing things from a broader perspective. This is because a narrow perspective limits your problem-solving ability.
- Know that underneath all your problems you are okay- repeat with me- I am okay.
- Learn to obtain value from yourself, and not wait for others to validate you.
- Watch where your mind wanders to, and practice letting go of the thoughts, and places that it visits.
- Be mindful of the habitual reactions that make you think negative thoughts.