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12 May 2014

Plant Seeds of Happiness in Your Life in 7 Ways

This article appeared in The Straits Times on 28 August 2015 Friday Page C32. For article on "Plant Seeds of Happiness in the Office", click here
If you plant seeds of happiness, flowers of happiness will bloom.
Everyone wants to be happy, yet often we have very little idea of what brings about genuine happiness.  It's obvious that material comforts will only bring us momentary happiness, as the moment you have something good, you start to want more and better and diminish your own happiness.  In fact clinging on to material comforts only leads to suffering.  No one wants to suffer, but do we know how to give up those actions that cause suffering?

True happiness is an inside thing, it is your inner feeling of bliss and joy.  There is no clinging, no craving, only pure enjoyment.  

What is planting a seed?  It's the simple act of setting something into motion that will help you create the life you want.  It's taking a moment of work today so that you can enjoy the fruits tomorrow. 

The seeds of happiness is planted by paying attention.  By not paying attention, we miss the every-day, every-moment opportunity to see directly, and deeply, the changing nature of life.  For example, we are seldom reminded to think of the good things we've done.  Let to our own devices, we often dwell on mistakes and things that we should have done.  This is not paying attention.  That's why we suffer.  Here are 7 easy ways that you too can plant seeds of happiness everyday:
  1. Start Your Day with Gratitude: What are I grateful for today?  It can be the good sunshine, the job that you have, or the breakfast that you would be having.  
  2. Do something for people. Do without being asked, do with happiness and do with swift action.  It can be anything, like pressing the lift's door 'open' button and bringing people out for tea and really listen to them.
  3. Practice the 'letting-go-mind'.  As what my teacher Thict Nhat Hanh said, if you let go a little, you will have a little peace.  If you let go a lot, you'll have a lot of peace.  If you let go completely, you'll have complete peace.  Your struggles with the world will come to an end.  
  4. Think of others as if there were no 'other'.  We are one, and how others behave are dependent on how we behave.  (See blog on Dependent Origination).  Once you have this 'no self' concept, you will have true happiness as there is no more fighting with the world, for the world is one and with you. 
  5. Develop Patience.  When you are about to lose your temper, take 3 breadths and remember you are a human, not a reptile, so don't use your reptilian brain, which is the part of brain that merely reacts and does not think.
  6. Something to Look Forward to.  The joy of anticipation will plant in my mind to truly enjoy whatever that comes.  Anticipation can easily turn into disappointment if you cling on to your expectation.  Let go and make the best with what comes and you'll be happy.
  7. Be Mindful.   Simply put, mindfulness has 3 elements: you need to first take note of something, be aware of it, and remember that awareness.  So for example if I am being mindful of what I'm doing now, I will take note of what is happening, be aware that I am doing something and remember that awareness.  Note that once you have mindfulness of an experience, you will never forget that experience for the rest of your life.  It's that simple.  When you are mindful, you are experiencing each and every moment.  There is no past, no future, only the present.  This is true happiness.
By Andy Ng, Chief Trainer at Asia Trainers, details of courses at here. Related articles on happiness at work:
  1. Work hard is not hard work and hard work makes it hard to work hard
  2. 5 C's Way to Increase Your Work Satisfaction this year
  3. The secret to happiness is to have no self
  4. It starts with your Perception and ends with Your Proceed
  5. How you can become powerful instantly without taking drugs
  6. Have you taken wholesome food today?
  7. Answers that everyone look for in sales
  8. Solving problems with Dependent Origination

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