Although we live in a society that has the greatest wealth and material standards it has ever enjoyed, there is a distinct malaise. This malaise is a lack of genuine happiness and fulfilment, a lack of inner peace and a lack of stability. Some cultures with considerably less material wealth than ours may marvel at the technological advancements and living conditions we have but are bemused at the apparent almost total absence of spiritual foundation or values. As a society, we come close to Oscar Wilde’s cynic: we know the price of everything but the value of nothing.
The present moment is our own responsibility
Politicians and successive governments have tried in vain to restore the missing quality by imposing standards in education and other areas of life but haven’t succeeded because the problem is not one of outer values but of consciousness. If we want to enjoy quality of life and the richness and abundance of the present moment, we have to take responsibility for our own state of consciousness and do something about it. For certain, no-one else is going to do it for us.
This series of posts, extracted from The Great Little Book of Happiness, is intended as an aid to restoring inner fulfilment and making life happier. To begin with, we will look at the causes of unhappiness and of its opposite, happiness. Then progressively we learn how to dismantle the obstructions to happiness and build the causes or conditions that lead to a joyful, happier life.
Ancient wisdom for modern problems?
The fundamental principles are as old as time – sometimes called ‘ancient wisdom’ – but the approach we will be taking is for today. Certain suggestions will challenge some readers because there is a need to overcome old habits of thinking and create new ones. All the techniques and exercises have been used successfully by attendees at the many courses and workshops I’ve run over the past twenty or so years.
Our first job will be to understand why everyone isn’t happy – because that might include us to some degree. That is for next time…
Adapted from The Great Little Book of Happiness