Category Archives: Happiness

Happiness is Possible: De-conditioning the Negativity Bias – Part 1



There is an inner freedom that expresses as happiness and peace, and it is accessible when we arrive in openhearted presence. As the Buddha said, “If it were not possible to find liberation, I would not teach about it.” In this two part talk, we will look at the conditioning that blocks happiness and two primary pathways of practice that evolve our consciousness and free our hearts.


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Happy for No Reason – Part 2: Opening to Happiness



These two talks explore the two different kinds of happiness, the blocks to happiness, and the ways that mindful presence and intentional gladdening the heart (positive neuroplasticity) can open us to our full potential for true happiness.

photo: Jonathan Foust ~ “Happy for No Reason: Dog and Her Fish”

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With gratitude and love, Tara


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Happy for No Reason – Part 1 : Opening to Happiness



These two talks explore the two different kinds of happiness, the blocks to happiness, and the ways that mindful presence and intentional gladdening the heart (positive neuroplasticity) can open us to our full potential for true happiness.

 


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True Happiness: Realizing Well-Being



True Happiness: Realizing Well-Being –

  CC   ~ Well being is the deep contentment that arises from a relaxed, wakeful presence. This talk explores the beliefs and habits that contract us away from presence, and several key ways we can nourish our natural capacity for happiness.

“May all beings everywhere discover the true happiness that is their innate potential.
May all beings rest in that well-being-ness.
And may, from that presence, may there be peace, love and freedom.
May all beings awaken.
May all beings everywhere be free.
Namaste.”


View or download the transcript (PDF) of “True Happiness: Realizing Well-Being”



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Meditation – Loving This Life – Happiness (Metta Practice) (16:30 min)



Happiness and Loving this Life – Metta (Lovingkindness) Practice


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Blog: Joy



Not too long ago, my ex-husband, Alex, brought us a big batch of his homemade almond butter. It is such a really delicious treat. I took a bite, and as I tasted it, I thought, “This is so good! I’m going to have some more.” And then immediately I thought, “No, I can’t have more. I’ll feel sick if I have too much.” So here I was, thinking about feeling sick in the middle of a good taste! Instead of savoring that wonderful flavor and pausing long enough to enjoy that deliciousness, my thoughts took me away from that simple pleasure.

This experience reminded me of how easily we can bypass the joy that lives in such small moments. I was also reminded that we can cultivate our capacity for joy by purposefully pausing in those moments when we experience even the slightest tendril of delight or just a hint of “Ah…happiness.”

I often turn to Mary Oliver as one of the poets who most inspires me to pause and savor the moment.

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
What a task to ask
of anything, or anyone,
yet it is ours,
and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.
One fall day I heard
above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was a flock of snow geese, winging it faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun
so they were, in part at least, golden. 
I held my breath as we do
sometimes to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us…
The geese flew on.
I have never seen them again.
Maybe I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won’t.
It doesn’t matter.
What matters
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.

The poet “held her breath as we do sometimes,” creating a pause so that she could be fully present to her experience of joy. She offers us a beautiful teaching.

Perhaps when you next experience a tendril of delight or a just a hint of happiness, you might remember Mary Oliver’s words and

“…stop time when something wonderful has touched you…”

pausing to become familiar with how that taste of joy or happiness lives in your body, heart and mind.

Adapted from Radical Acceptance (2003)

Enjoy this talk on Committing to Joy

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For more information visit: www.tarabrach.com

Photo Credit: Vinod Chandar



Blog: Rare and Precious Joy



When I talk to people about how much they experience joy, most say, “Not so much.” Joy is not a frequent visitor, and when it does appear, it’s fleeting.

Joy arises when we are open to both the beauty and suffering inherent in living. Like a great sky that includes all different types of weather, joy is an expansive quality of presence. It says “Yes to life, no matter what!”  Yet it’s infrequency lets us know our more habitual posture: resisting what’s happening, saying “No” to the life that is here and now.  We tend to override our innate capacity for joy with our incessant inner dialogue, our chronic attempts to avoid unpleasantness and to hold on to pleasure. Rather than joy in the present moment, we are trying to get somewhere else, to experience something that is better, different.

The great French writer, André Gide, said:

“Know that joy is rarer, more difficult and more beautiful than sadness. Once you make this all-important discovery, you must embrace joy as a moral obligation.”

Joy is an “obligation” because it is an expression of our full potential. Only if we commit ourselves to loving life, do we come fully into our wholeness. This commitment means we investigate our limiting beliefs about our own goodness and worth.  It means we bring mindfulness to our discursive thoughts and judgments. And it means we challenge the values of a culture that fixate on material growth, consumerism, and the domination of nature.

There is a story of a young monk who arrives at a monastery and he’s assigned to help the other monks copying the canons and the laws of the church by hand. He notices that the monks are copying from copies. He goes to the old abbot and he questions this. He points out that if there were even a small error earlier on, that it would never be picked up. In fact, it would be continued in all subsequent copies. The abbot says, “We’ve been copying from copies for centuries, but you have a good point.” So he goes down to the vaults, way down deep in the caves under the monastery where the original manuscripts have been sitting for ages, for hundreds of years. Hours go by. Nobody sees the old abbot. Finally, the young, new monk gets really worried so he goes downstairs. He finds the old abbot, who is banging his head against the wall and crying uncontrollably. Concerned he asks him, “Father, father, what’s wrong?” And in a choking voice, the old abbot replies, “The word was ‘celebrate!’ (not celibate)”

When we get lost in habitual behaviors—in living according to others expectations, in avoiding risks, in not questioning our beliefs—we bypass opportunities to celebrate life. Joy is only possible if you are living in your body, with your senses awake. One training that cultivates your capacity for joy is to purposefully stop when you even get the slightest little tendril of a sense of “Ah…happiness.” Whenever you start feeling some simple pleasure, a sense of something you appreciate, stop.  Be fully aware of your body, of sensation and aliveness. Be aware of your heart. Sense what it’s like to fully savor the beauty of a falling leaf, the warmth of a hug, the quietness at dawn. We’re not a culture of savoring. We grasp after our pleasures, but we don’t pause. We don’t spend much time with our senses awake.

See what happens if you commit yourself to loving life. Begin by remembering to pause and savor the simple pleasures. Have the intention to hold gently the difficulties. Open your heart to the life of this moment and discover that joy is never very far away.

Adapted from my book Radical Acceptance.

Enjoy this short video on What Keeps Us From Joy.

For more information visit: www.tarabrach.com