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Looking Deeply; Creating Happiness; Awareness

Posted Sep 07 2008 7:56pm
The photo to your right is of John, the son of my friend and boss, Josh, at his most recent birthday party. I chose this picture today because it makes me happy! And, it is also chosen because John knows we make our own magic. We knew that when we were John's age, but as we mature, we forget. John is a beautiful reminder! See Magic Happiness Link at the very bottom of this post!

After blogging yesterday, I met a friend for lunch. We were discussing my blog entry and the unhappiness, for those who experience it, with the doctors at Vanderbilt.

During the conversation, I realized something: The doctors are not the enemy! They are the caregivers. My friend and I decided to use the Eastern practice of Looking Deeply to see if we could see why the doctors may be the way they are. We concluded that, at its root, it is fear. Why fear? Well, if they do not say what will happen, then they may be sued. If they give hope and things don't turn out to our liking, they may be sued. If they think things will go well and then they don't, they may be ... you got it ... sued! No one wants to be sued, involved in, or the subject of a lawsuit. So, the easiest thing to do might be to give the worst case scenario and then when things turn out well ... voila - everyone is happy. But, what happens in the meantime?

The problem with that scenario is that those who need hope the most don't get it because of ... fear. This causes fear in the patient, who really needs to feel hopeful in order to get well. The doctor may protect his or her fear by offering no hope, and so the fear moves and manifests in the one the doctor fears. A domino effect. What affects one affects all .. a basic life truth mentioned in yesterday's blog. The only solution here is for us to have a personal responsibility in handling our own fears responsibly.

I'm going to post here an excerpt from that book I love, " No Death, No Fear" on happiness. It might give those facing deep rooted fear another way of looking at things. When you understand the conditions of the unhappiness or fear in another person, by looking deeply, it helps you to have awareness and then you can stop fear in its tracks.

Be like John, above - banish fear; make your own magic - the magic of happiness, available to us at any time ... if we look deeply through the eyes of love awareness.

Remember, when you change the way you look at things ... well, the things you look at change. That's magic!

Ending Notions of Happiness

Each of us has a notion of how we can be happy. It would be very helpful if we took the time to reconsider our notions of happiness. We could make a list of what we think we need to be happy: "I can only be happy if..." Write down the things you want and the things you do not want. Where did these ideas come from? Is it reality? Or is it only your notion? If you are committed to a particular notion of happiness you do not have much chance to be happy.

Happiness arrives from many directions. If you have a notion that it comes only from one direction, you will miss all of these other opportunities, because you want happiness to come only from the direction you want. You say, "I would rather die than marry anyone but her. I would rather die than lose my job, my reputation. I cannot be happy if I don't get that degree or that promotion or that house." You have put many conditions on your happiness. And then, even if you do have all your conditions met, you still won't be happy. You will just keep creating new conditions for your happiness. You will still want the higher degree, the better job and the more beautiful house ...

[H]appiness can only be possible in the here and now, so go back and examine deeply your notions and ideas of happiness. You may recognize that the conditions of happiness that are already there in your life are enough. Then happiness can be instantly yours.

**Reprinted from No Fear, No Death: Comforting Wisdom for Life, by Thich Nhat Hanh, with permission of Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2002 by Thich Nhat Hanh.Thich Nhat Hanh is a teacher and poet. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr. and is the author of more than forty books.

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