Friday, January 28, 2011

A bird? A plane? A Transient Experience?

Everywhere I turn the happiness squad is hawking their wares, trying to get me to purchase the latest way to create or increase my happiness. Oprah frequently has guests on her show who offer quizzes, books, and steps toward ensuring we achieve a steady state of happiness. A quick spin through a book store offers more of the same: happiness is a state that I achieve, and once I get there, I am supposed to stay there. With his recent tweet talking about finding happiness (a thing), H.H. the Dalai Lama said, “If you want others to be happy [a state], practice compassion, if you want to be happy, practice compassion” I fear even H.H. has encountered trouble with this word that conveys a transient experience that is frequently misused to convey a state or a thing. I’ll give H.H. the Dalai Lama the benefit of doubt—perhaps it’s a translation issue–because while H.H. refers to happy as a state, he also, elsewhere, refers to it as a transient experience: “Awareness of impermanence and appreciation of our human potential will give us a sense of urgency that we must use every precious moment.”
Check out the full post, and others answering the question ""Why does the enterprise of psychotherapy matter?" on the new multi-contributor blog On Psychotherapy. Never fear--I will not be neglecting this blog!

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