Yogi Reads: The Art of Happiness

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Yogi Reads: The Art of Happiness

Recently I watched a John Oliver piece on the Dalai Lama, where it was reported that he was the 6th most respected man in the world, and when people were asked their thoughts, they stated “he is peaceful, he has great quotes, he is very spiritual.” The Dalai Lama, though many people recognize the title, remains a rather mysterious figure to many of us in Western Culture. Some of these factors, as well as a need for some sage advice, led me to sit down with the Art of Happiness this quarter.

I decided to move through one segment of the above referenced comment from a NYC interviewee which states that the Dalai Lama has great quotes, and lay out some of those that relate closely to our practice of yoga. The Art of Happiness touches on SO many aspects of quieting the mind, and tapping into our own inner calm and peace, which comes quite naturally to the Dalai Lama.

“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”

As we discuss in yoga, the act of yoga itself is the quieting of the mind, which for a few is a natural process, and for others requires the use of the tools embedded within the limbs of yoga. Through the discipline and quiet of the mind, comes that ability to recognize our true nature, that place of peace and tranquility.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

I thought this quote was especially timely given the boundless compassion meditation we practiced (or at least looked at!) last week. One of the keys to happiness is our abilities to tap into compassion, both for ourselves and for others. Without our abilities to relate to others, and to find that common thread of humanity, we will be lost, and happiness will be elusive. So often, we tie happiness to outside factors and items, rather than those connections with others, and our ability to relate to commonalities.

“Compassion can be roughly defined in terms of a state of mind that is nonviolent, nonharming, and nonaggressive. It is a mental attitude based on the wish for others to be free of their suffering and is associated with a sense of commitment, responsibility, and respect towards others.”

Take a look back at those Yamas 🙂 As we know, buddhism and Yoga have so many common tenants, and this definition of compassion is the essence of the first limb of yoga. The Dalai Lama touches on how though the non-harming we can enhance those connections within, and again towards others. We have these tools to increase our compassion, and the secondary gain he describes is out happiness.

Enjoy! There are so many other words of wisdom to be had here.

Also consider watching the John Oliver interview and story here:


Next Yogi reads: 9/29 Self-Compassion: Kristen Neff