If we have peace of mind, we’ll always feel happy. Deceiving ourselves that money is the source of happiness, we won’t. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
This quote is specifically about the relationship between happiness and peace of mind. In fact, that is the first part of the quote in a nutshell.
If we can find peace of mind in our lives, we can be happy. That said, we can still choose to be less than happy, but with peace of mind, happiness is ours, if we wish it.
The other half of the quote is about the deception which we often face. The deceit of the shiny. The lies of money, fame, or riches. While they may bring a brief moment of happy, true happiness is far easier to attain.
This quote urges us to realize and remember where to find happiness. Not in things, but within ourselves. With the help of our peace of mind, it is possible. If we want it.
Why is avoiding falling for the deceit of the shiny important?
This is the “if only…” fallacy. You could be happy, if only… How often does that work? How many times have you been caught in that trap? Not exactly the definition of ‘fun’ is it? And did you ever get the happiness you expected from the shiny new thing?
Whether it’s a new friend, a new lover, a new car, or anything else, that deception of the shiny object is always just that. It is a lie, a falsehood which tricks you into chasing that which will not get you what you desire. You only think it will because of the deception.
Avoiding the deception means having your life back. How many hours are spent chasing the shiny things? Like a cat chasing a laser pointer or a feather on a string, the fun, the happiness is only transitory. Gone as quickly as it arrived.
What could you have done with all the time, effort, energy, emotion, and money you spent chasing the shiny things? That is the other problem with chasing the shiny, the opportunity cost. Think of all that you could have accomplished, all the progress you could have made, if only you had resisted the call of the shiny.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Don’t get me wrong, chasing things can be fun. Often times the chase is far more interesting than the having at the end of the chase. The point of the quote, to me, is that we shouldn’t put our expectations of happiness on the chase. To me, that is the difference between a fun pastime and happiness.
Take a moment and consider where in your life you have spent time, effort, energy, emotion, and/or money chasing the shiny things in life. In each case, how long did the shiny last, how long were you able to hold on to the temporary happiness it provided?
Whether it was the pursuit of money to buy the shiny things, which is the basis of the quote, or the broader pursuit of things shiny, it usually brings only the briefest moments of happiness. Hopefully that brief review of your personal experiences has convinced you that it is a fact.
But the siren song of the shiny is so powerful. The ad agencies and the companies they represent, spend billions of dollars each year trying to convince you of your need for the latest and greatest shiny thing. Which they will provide to you, for a nominal fee.
So how do we quiet the call of the shiny? I belive the easiest way to do that is to spend more time looking within ourselves, and less time looking outside of ourselves. Especially when it comes to trying to be happy, we must learn to seek it within, for if we seek it on the outside, we will be hooked by the shiny. Every time.
Take a moment and think of the times when you have been most happy. Now think of the times you were at peace within yourself. How about the times you were simply quiet and all seemed right in your world? Were any of those times wonderful because of something shiny? Yes, something may have been involved, but could you have been there without it?
Hopefully you were able to think of several times in your life where the shiny had little or no influence on your ability to be happy. Now consider all of the times you thought of, and see if thereis a pattern. What activities or places or times tend to help you find inner peace, peace of mind and happiness?
If you can find something that ties even a few of these together, that might be a good thing to try to do again. And, if you are anything like me, some of those times were simply sitting, quietly, watching nature. Sunsets, sunrises, birds flying, ants crawling, flowers swaying in a breeze.
Consider why you are doing something next time you feel the urge to try to buy happiness. The shiny is a lure, and if you are not careful, you will be hooked.
- ‘Happiness’ – not a shiny utopian unicorn (sundayramblings.wordpress.com)
- 15 Words You Should Think Daily to Be Happy (positivewordsresearch.com)
- Find Peace (cwensworld.wordpress.com)
- Pursuit of happiness (from the Plymouth Herald) (healthyrelationships2013.com)
- 5 Tips for a Happier and More Peaceful Life (centerfornewblog.com)
- It is important to let people know that they have the source of contentment and happiness within themselves. (philosiblog.com)