This simple path to happiness starts with three simple questions and explains how you can cultivate a mindset and awareness which makes happiness always accessible.
Okay so let's start with you asking yourself three simple questions.
1. Are you having a good or a bad day?
2. Why are you having a good or bad day today?
3. Would you like to have a good or a bad day tomorrow?
What would you prefer to have? A good day or a bad day? Chances are this is a very easy question for you to answer. You know the answer to it, don't you? You want to have a good day, every day. Of course you might be the exception, and may have answered that you want to have only bad days, and if so we'd like to refer you back to the second question. But generally we assume as much as possible you only want to have good days, right?
So this is really all about what we really wish for in our heart of hearts, our desire for happiness, and our wish that when we wake up in the morning and get out of bed we're going to experience a good day. We are happy when we have a good day, and we want to be happy as much as possible, right? Is there a day when we don't want to be happy?
But whether or not we are having a good day or a bad day is usually dependent on how we answered the second question. Why? Why are you having a good day? Why are you having a bad day?
Just like a balloon in the wind gets blown here and there by external circumstances, the same is often true of our minds. Do you know that feeling? When things are going well, when they're going our way, we feel happy. But then if something goes wrong, for example if you're forced to work with a colleague you dislike or someone you despise gets on the bus and sits next to you, your mood changes. But maybe there is nobody out there you dislike, right? If something doesn't go your way or you're forced to work with someone you dislike then your happy feeling disappears.
But you see as long as your answer to the second question of why you're having a good or bad day is dependent on someone or something else you will never have easy access to your own happiness. It's like when you get home from work or return from being out somewhere and someone asks you "So how was your day? Did you have a good day?" Then you reply something along the lines of, "Yeah, I did. Thanks. I met this woman who had this idea for the new office, we had a really good meeting, and an old friend stopped by so we could have lunch together." As long as your reasons for why you had a good day are a list of external conditions then you're not going to have the stable access to the happiness that you need, crave and desire.
Does this make any sense to you?
You see if you are basing your happiness on external factors and other people and situations, because we cannot control other people and our environment every single day, then your happiness will always in in the hands of other people and circumstances beyond your control, won't it? Your happiness will be entirely at the whim of your circumstances. This is probably going to end up being a miserable place to be, not least because there are many people out there who are committed to their own self-interests, or acting out of a need for self-esteem, and nobody out there is really under any obligation to go out of their way to please you and make you happy. This is something you really need to figure out for yourself.
In other words we need to stop attributing our happiness to what's going on externally. We need to stop blaming others - especially blaming others - finding fault with other people, putting them down, and holding them responsible for what is going on in our mind. Note that we're not suggesting not holding people responsible for the way they make you feel. Words are powerful, very powerful, as are actions, and both carry consequences. But there really only needs to be one person who's in total control of your mind and that person is you, not anybody or anything else. There is still the power of choice which is also always open to you. There is no need to blame someone or something else for your unhappiness. Sure you can be hurt, offended, disappointed, angry, by what happens to you, and these are emotional experiences which really cannot be avoided in life. But who do you want controlling your ultimate state of mind - you or someone or something else?
For as long as you are making your happiness someone else's responsibility, or basing your happiness on circumstances, or making it someone else's fault that you're unhappy, your happiness will be very unstable and you will not have guaranteed access to your own happiness. Happiness will also always be an illusion, not real, not experienced, but simply expressed as a desire, a wish, a hope. Any desire is an illusion of something you don't have, possess or enjoy, but you feel you need to be happy. It's a craving, and cravings lead to suffering, not happiness. A craving is a desire which is actually an attachment to an illusion of happiness. It's not real. It's just an illusion.
The second thing you need to do for your own happiness is to cultivate a source of peace and happiness within yourself. What you have just read above was only the first thing you need to do and this had everything to do with developing unhealthy emotional and psychological attachments to other people and your environment. But the second thing, and what you need to do now, is to cultivate that source of peace and happiness from somewhere deep inside you, your mind and your being. That state of peace and happiness can only exist in one place, and that place is your mind.
The mind is the most important part of your life because it is the connection between the two halves which make up your life. The first half of your life are the things which happen to you in life, the experiences and events which have taken place in your life, how other people treat you and how they have treated you, and everything else which you believe has happened to you. The second half, which is not always the most comfortable half, is that half which is dependent entirely on you, the choices and decisions you have made in your life, the actions you have taken, your dreams, hopes, fears, desires, and everything else. Together these two halves of your life come together and make up what is known in eastern philosophy as karma. Karma is a Sanskrit word which essentially means 'action' but it can also mean 'event'. It doesn't matter what you do or what happens to you, it is still karma.
Happiness is something which is incredibly important to you, right? Furthermore if you really want to cultivate your mind as a source of peace and happiness, you're going to also want to have control over your mind and how your mind works, right? There's not much point in trying to cultivate your mind as a source of peace and happiness if you don't understand at least the basic principles of how your mind works, what it does, and how you can gain control over it, is there? You're not going to achieve that state of happiness if your mind is distracted, agitated, anxious or fearful because these are emotional states which are going to destroy that inner peace and calm - or that mindfulness - and make the pursuit of happiness and its achievement pointless.
Most people think of the mind as something unique and individual to them and something which exists somewhere inside their head. This is one of the most widespread and popular misconceptions about the mind and this is reinforced by social conditioning, our culture, and very much by language and the way we use it. People talk of 'your mind', or 'my mind' when in actual reality they are referring to perspective, or conscious perspective and not their mind. The difference between mind and perspective is something which is taught through eastern philosophies such as Taoism, Buddhism or Therevadaism which is the source inspiration for Qultura (more on this later) - Therevadaism is the oldest extant Buddhist community, and along with the difference between mind and perspective there is also the teaching of the difference between 'self' and 'not self'.
These differences can probably be easiest and best explained with the aid of a Chinese painting above, which is painted in the style of art found commonly in Zen Buddhism. Some of these paintings were used as a teaching aid to teach Buddhist concepts. Above we see a painting of a vast mountainous landscape. At the bottom towards the left hand side you see the lowest peak on either side of which you can make out some trees. Notice how tiny the trees are in comparison to the vastness of the landscape, the mountains and the fog which partly obscures the mountain tops. This is a style of painting which was painted in such a way so as to teach you the difference in scale between the very small trees, which represent you, or 'self' and the vastness of the scenery, the world and your environment - or 'not self'.
Okay so there are two major differences you need to grasp here. It's probably easiest to start with the difference between 'self' (you) and 'not self' (not you, or other) because this probably doesn't need any explanation. Okay so now we come to the more important difference which is that between mind and perspective. Perspective corresponds to 'self', and refers to conscious perspective. This is the 'real' you, the centre of consciousness which lies at the very core of your being, that part which many people mistakenly refer to as the mind. This is also something completely different and separate from your Ego, or the image you have of yourself which you have been conditioned to believe is you, the illusion of who you believe you are, you think you are, and who others think and believe you are based on your image or persona. It is your Ego, and not your real centre or conscious perspective, which you constantly have to feed and big up to achieve self-esteem. There's a big difference, which should come as good news if you don't like yourself very much, because you don't need an Ego in order to live. You already have a conscious perspective, i.e. the 'real' you.
So now we come to the mind, which is your perception, everything that what you perceive, and this is related to 'not self'. If you can see yourself as being just a tiny tree on a mountain in the painting, not self is the whole scene, the mountain range, the fog, everything. This is the content of your mind. Now please think about this, what is it that you actually use your mind for? Is it not to perceive the world around you, to see other people, to think about other people, to think about your environment? Your mind is just like the painting, it's the complete picture of you and your life, it is everything you can think about and perceive that is not you.
Now that we understand the difference between mind and perspective, or conscious perspective, we can now move on to the ability to cultivate peace and happiness. So far we have only been working with your desire for peace and happiness, or your desire for a stable source of happiness, or to have good days every day. You also understand the difference between 'self' and 'not self' and also the difference between mind and perspective. So let us now move on to the difference between attachment and non-attachment.
It is not enough to simply desire peace and happiness, because as was explained before a desire is not the same as the real thing. It's just a desire, a craving, a wish, a need, a hope. Furthermore simply desiring peace and happiness is not going to offer you any insurance against such experiences as pain, anger, sadness, emotional loss and pain, sickness, suffering, heartache or any of the nasty stuff life sometimes throws at us. But this is where attachment and non-attachment comes into play. We believe that we can control our lives, that we are in control of our minds, that we can control everything what happens to us in our lives. But we can't. Can we really control our minds? think about this. You walk down the street, you see other people walking down the street, you see buildings which are in the street, cars driving along the street, all these things going through your mind. Can you control who walks down the street? Can you control the buildings that you see, or the cars that drive down the road? Of course not.
But what you can control - even if you have no control over what goes through your mind - is what you become attached to and what you choose not to become attached to through your conscious perspective. You always have total control over your conscious perspective. You get to decide what matters and what is important to you in life, and what isn't. You get to decide, for example if someone is rude to you, whether you respond to the rudeness and retaliate, thereby becoming attached to the experience, or you choose to let it go, walk away and not get attached to the experience. This is what karma is all about, Karma is all about deciding whether or not something which happens to you is important or significant, and it's also about choosing whether or not to respond to what is happening to you and how you are going to respond to it.
You see this is the whole point of developing conscious awareness. You may not always have control or be in control of what is happening to you, but you also don't need to be attached to the experience either. You can always 'step back', detach, let go, walk away, take some time out, and wait until you feel you have control and you can make an appropriate choice over what you want to do or what action you wish to take. You develop conscious awareness through developing what many will refer to as mindfulness.
Hopefully you have been reading this this webpage and have not found anything particularly intellectually challenging. This is not rocket science. While we have established that you do not always have control over what happens to you, over circumstances or events, or even how other people treat you, you do have control and a choice over how you choose to respond. We're not telling you anything particularly groundbreaking or revolutionary here. You may be aware of some of what we have written about already. This is all pretty much fairly elementary stuff, and you can explore deeper in our website. So how do we go about actually achieving that inner peace and happiness and begin cultivating that conscious awareness and mindfulness?
Now at this point we could suggest something such as meditation, yoga, getting into the Tantric stuff, or practising Vipassana, all of which are perfectly valid ways of developing mindfulness and conscious awareness. But there are also far more direct methods of developing mindfulness and conscious awareness which are also far more social and community based. You can practise art, photography, get involved in volunteering and community support work, or simply get involved in a community and develop conscious awareness and mindfulness through developing empathy and practising compassion. What you do isn't as important as how you do it and what is the motivation for you to undertake these activities or indeed, develop mindfulness or conscious awareness.
Now this is where we come back to the relationship between Therevadaism, Buddhism and Qultura. Qultura is a method for developing empathy and community which has been developed out of Therevadaism. We are a secular community open to all beliefs, creeds and people, and do not teach or require anyone to practise either Therevadaism or Buddhism. Whether or not you choose to join our community to develop mindfulness, conscious awareness, or achieve peace and happiness is entirely up to you.
But if you do choose to join the community, which is completely free of charge, you will be able to participate in our community and the various message board discussions, meet people and work towards your own definition of peace and happiness through the Qultura method and system while developing empathy and practising compassion with others in the community. You might even make a few friends and find a new interest or passion in life (if that is what you are seeking). All you need to do is to click on the 'Join' button in the top right hand corner of any webpage to join our network, register on our message board and get involved. If you would like to help us with the development of our community we would be most appreciative. Be yourself - we actively encourage you to explore, experiment, learn and discover.
Qultura is a system for figuring out your Principle and Process - the existential core of your life - through the development of empathy and community. The core principle and philosophy is simple and easy to learn.Learn more
The development of empathy is fundamental to human evolution. But to be capable of developing empathy you need to take off your societal mask and be real and prepared to live your truth.Learn more