How can we Live a Happier Life?
Lama Jampa Thaye answers a simple yet very profound question in his latest video, How can we Live a Happier Life? The question itself recognises that we can derive some happiness from many external sources such as our families, careers or wealth, but that these sources of happiness are precarious and unreliable. Lama Jampa remarks that the more we chase after these external things for happiness the more it locks us into suffering and diminishes our potential to experience genuine happiness.
Looking Inwards: Honesty and Self-Examination
If we want to live a happier life, Lama Jampa says, we need to begin by being ‘rigorously honest with ourselves’. This involves really examining the things we rely on to make us happy and realising how fragile and fleeting these things are. We need to be honest with ourselves; our ego is the greatest conman going but happiness does not come from fooling ourselves. By thoroughly examining those things which we rely on for happiness and seeing them for what they are we can create proper foundations for true and genuine happiness within our lives.
Looking Outwards: ‘Forget your own Happiness’
Paradoxically, genuine happiness comes from wanting others to be happy. Through a process of rigorous self-examination, we learn that prizing our own happiness over that of others has only served to limit our experience of true happiness. We have been left frustrated and disappointed. Lama Jampa advises us, quite radically, to ‘forget our own happiness’. He invites us to examine our lives and consider where those experiences of powerful happiness originated. If we look at these experiences of real happiness we see that they are characterised by a ‘self-forgetfulness’. We have, for a moment, forgotten to privilege our own needs and wants over those of others. When we really love others, our concern is for their happiness, not our own. Through extending ourselves in kindness and concern for others our own concerns and neuroses disappear.
‘A True Contentment, a True Fulfilment’
Cherishing our own happiness over the happiness of others has left us unfulfilled and paralyses our ability to experience genuine happiness in this life. If we want to live a happier life we need to look beyond the prison of our own neuroses and self-concern. True contentment and true fulfilment comes from wanting happiness for others. By letting go of our own preoccupations and thinking of others we will enjoy a happier life.