If we look honestly at our lives, we can see that one our major preoccupation is acquiring the things and attempting to create the circumstances that will make us feel better, or at the very least help us avoid feeling worse. And upon deeper inspection we can see that no matter how successful our attempts are they will inevitably lead to even more problems later on.
We have three main problems when looking for happiness:
But the root of the problem is trying to create a specific experiential state rather than simply being present in the face of whatever arises in our mind. This constant craving of specific kinds of experiences and wanting to desperately avoid others is mostly due to a constant preoccupation with “I, me and mine.” Being fully present, while attentively caring for others, can relax this narcissistic preoccupation. Again and again we can turn our attention to the present moment, consider the needs of others and, in so doing, as a magical side effect, we will be well.
What does it mean to be well? Isn’t that just another experiential state? Of course, but this state is not coming from grasping and avoiding. It doesn’t arise because we strived for it, measured ourselves for whether we have it or not. It actually is something we already possess, but because we are always looking outward towards things we desire we never notice it. It has been covered up by all the craving for things and experiences that we spend so much time on. All we need to do is relax the all the comparisons, judgements and clinging.
When we are fully present, we can enjoy the good times free of the subtle fear of their demise. When we connect with others, by being kind and loving, something deep within us relaxes, and we experience joy, even in the midst of sadness or disappointment. Relaxing our subtle attachment to all our agendas and subtle fear of not getting the hoped for outcome, we find something special within, that has always been with us, and nothing can take it away—Radical Happiness.
It is pretty obvious that without a solid foundation of contentment, basic sanity, and a decent self-image, you can’t flourish in life. Therefore, discovering a basic contentment of being is essential whether our aims are spiritual or mundane.
You can read a bit more about this by following this link. It is the opening paragraphs of our book, and might help you understand why Rinpoche and I decided to write about Radical Happiness.
Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon have collaborated on Radically Happy: A User’s Guide to the Mind. The book will be released on October 16, 2018! Many people have questions–what does the book discuss? What does the title mean? In this regular blog feature, co-creator, Erric Solomon shares more about how to be Radically Happy