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To live happily, what can help it? Many have striven to sort it out, including ancient Greek philosophers like Epicurus, Plato, and Aristotle. The recent field of psychology called Positive Psychology, initiated by Martin Seligman, shows its debt to these ancient thinkers and others. Buddha is someone I for one happen to be very fond of for such reasons, in that his keys to proper living include elimination of stress and suffering, retaining happiness, and going for it as nirvana joy. He came up with the Gentle Middle Way to systematise that combined approach in the life-long art of living.
To aim for a happy life should be fair enough, and to aim for a good life may be better, depending on what we mean by 'good' in this context.
The voice of the guru - an aside
The Americanised guru Yogananda (1893-1952) talked much and often for gaining great happiness in Self-realisation. How did Yogananda speak? In such a way that his voice attracted a goat. But that is not all. He tells:
We used to have here at Mt. Washington a goat that was invariably attracted by my voice. One day, while I was speaking in this chapel, the goat came trotting in and right on up the aisle to me! ... it simply liked to hear my voice. [Ak 23]
I find that sweet.
Speeches1. Do you believe a donkey can talk and argument without being taught? It is in the Bible. [Num 22:30, passim]
2. Do you believe in everything in the Bible?
❖ A talking, untaught donkey - but could it sing splendid songs too?
The Panchatantra fables were formed to help princes in dealing with difficult problems by knowledge of ways of the world. Animals in it are used to describe and typify common human problems to assist in realistic coping of quite lasting value, and they talk a lot [Pan 300 etc.].
Without being very careful, guarded and moderate, you may end up torn to pieces. Apropos, "The great mass of the people ... will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one," said Adolf Hitler [Dq].
There is an old European story about a king who went hunting. He lost his way in the wood, and visited a humble place to spend the night there. His courtiers were concerned about his prestige, and adviced against sleeping there. But one of them said,
"No, it is not the king that loses prestige by sleeping here, it is the place that gains it."
"That is a fine perspective," the king agreed, and entered the place for a good night's sleep.
❖ Chinese wisdom: "We cannot expect ... a deaf man to listen to bells and drums."
Diogenes (?412-323 BC) observed a child drinking from his cupped hands. At once he drew his goblet from his satchel and threw it away, saying,
"In the practice of moderation a child has become my master. (Alternative: But a child knows better than me.)"
❖ "Blindness and deafness are not confined to the body alone - the understanding has them too." [Chinese wisdom].
❖ A former professor's advice to students in education: "If you have not laid your hands on the book yourself, better not to refer to it." It is different with Internet texts.
❖ By cultivating clarity within, some rise to abandon delusions. [see I Ching hexagram 30]
❖ In the biography of St. Theresa she comments Luther and his reformation with horror in one place, and uses ritually negative verbiage. She hardly practices the right sort of moderation well enough. Catholicism has its history of abuse and warfare.
❖ Do not waste effort by being out of season.
❖ Conserve light if you can.
The life-long road to living in a villa
All-round happy living can be understood as a phase along the road of great renunciation, in the light of Avadhut Gita 4:21.
Even a nun who heads many monasteries and a big organisation may find out and adjust to that villa living offers good opportunities for an all-round decent fare [Example].
Go for health
Be healthily attuned to the natural affairs of things.
When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. - Walt Disney
First go for benefits, then you have resources to see and help better.
Animation offers a medium of story telling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world ... We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. [Walt Disney]
The figurative prowess (maya) within the human strives for balances that are savoury, and in the long run helps man as to survival, getting fitness and keeping his already "domesticated" balances. In the garb of nightly dreams some themes appear, and we can learn to interpret them.
Like many business partners, relatives can be friends out of bitter necessity [cf. Ap 503].
Solutions that blunt or starve man's inner Child (libido) cannot be good enough.
As you start to grow tall, like a tree, many animals can rest in your shade.
There are two or three recommended primers by Professor Haim Ginott on how to respond to vital matters to children and youngsters - and we are all children and youngsters deep within, hopefully. There are many vital matters to adults among vital matters to children. [Bpc; Bpt, Tch].
Adults are only kids grown up, anyway. [Walt Disney]
Good fortune ... there are many sides to it. Buddha speaks of great blessings that can be worked for.
Other routines, steps and measures than these may also favour a happy life. I fill in a few things here, using a structural grid for gaining Tao(s):
Attain from the Source, as deeply as you can go
To enjoy charming conversations without satiety is a boon in its way.
Ample space in some way or other may ward off brutality.
Be warned: even fools can do damage if they bite from behind.
Let many details work together for beneficial ends - and sincerity can build up too.
You can go for lovely scenery.
Aim at goals that can work for your own good and the good of your near ones. Whether you move or stop should be steered from inside.
The road may give way to not very idealised encounters. Try to stay creative enough in smart, handed-over ways.
With practice we can maintain a state of inner calm also in our everyday lives. Both sterling worth (substance) and grace of style matters.
Let afflicted companions stay away, within safe bounds to be taken care of by proper health personal. Besides and otherwise, on some slippery road it is a good thing to be surefooted like a mountain goat.
Fit success is from the source and outwards onwards.
Merely repetitive practices may yet cause delight in living, like ◦TM. ◊
It can help to aim at the kind of success that conforms to being determined and restrained, and, of course, gaining enough as one gets along. Buddha advocates Householder counsels of Buddha]
Little darlings delight to play and should be given ample room and conditions for it.
Good nourishment and proper position-taking is fit also, and lovely scenery.
Let your good heart's discerning findings serve more than rudimentary balances along with Buddha's all-round counsels
Cooperating partners need a proper balance of work and play, rest and work, privacy and social living.
Establish fit habits free from satiety, and proper arrangements.
Get skilled to be productive, and learn how to make wise and wiser choices. Some parts of Management theory is fit for laypersons too.
Never smother your heart for any reason. Seek to remain open inwards, even Awake, Enlightened in that.
Get downright prudent as time goes by.
Fair items tend to bring on many happy encounters. ◊
To get over anger as quickly as it comes is hardly easy, but Buddha-advocated all the same.
It should help to be assisted or joined by interior decorators, perhaps even fashion composers to get bulwarked against nuisances.
Take off from as deep rest as you are able to.
Remain well equipped to work with young people. They carry some parts of the future, remember.
Learn to let your rest work for your attainments too - Patanjali teaches how, for example
Learn how to choose between suitors and remain fond at heart. Don't be over-idealistic. on behalf of that future partnership and its ramifications, possible in-laws and much else.
Not to waste any time getting into a well-founded project can be good for you.
Let life adjust well enough to love and its surprises, as it may be within your power.
Open to new ideas - like yogic attainments a la Patanjalis sanyama - try to master other sides to self-motivated activity too.
Dignity soiled is very bad, and is going to have future repercussions (bad karma ensues).
Stilling one's body and mind one reflects.
Advancing old age can be good too, and rest works well, then. ◊
Allowing oneself and others sufficient space or room can work for good.
Getting fitly determined and yet achieving a quiet heart can be a life goal in its way.
Fit and childlike love of fun and games and pranks marks great humans, even though all may not need to wear caps with large animal ears to be surrounded by joyful, laughing children. ◊◊
Attain a lot from a good source for solid and worthy attainments. Much education is for just that. There are many sides to it, and many problems too.
Ak: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Man's Eternal Quest. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982.
Ap: Mieder, Wolfgang (main ed.), Stewart A. Kingsbury, and Kelsie E. Harder: A Dictionary of American Proverbs. (Paperback) New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Au: Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. 13th ed. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), 1998.
Bpc: Ginott, Haim G. Between Parent and Child. Rev. and updated by Alice Ginott and H. Wallace Goddard. New York: Three Rivers, 2003.
Bpt: Ginott, Haim G. Between Parent and Teenager. New York: Avon, 1971.
Dq: Cohen, J. M., and M. J. Cohen. The New Penguin Dictionary of Quotations. Rev. ed. London: Viking, 1992.
Pan: Rajan, Chandra, tr. Visnu Sarma: The Panchatantra. London: Penguin Classics, 1995.
Tch: Ginott, Haim G. Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers. New York: Avon, 1975.
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