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Happiness and unhappiness are states of mind and therefore their real causes cannot be found outside the mind.

This is a quote from the TED talk linked to this post. Kelsang Nyema attributed it to one of her teachers.

We are misguided when we blame our unhappiness on someone else. If you have a peaceful mind you will tend to be happy.

Happiness is all in your mind: Gen Kelsang Nyema at TEDxGreenville 2014 - YouTubeSimple, profound truths are the realm of this Buddhist nun. Her message? The gift of happiness truly lies within our own hearts and minds. Gen Kelsang Nyema,...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnLoToJVQH4Image for post Happiness and unhappiness are states of mind and therefore their real causes cannot be found outside the mind.
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PhilboydStudges avatar Philosophy
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I'm generally a pretty happy person, but my wife knows exactly what buttons to push when she wants to share a little pissed off. I'm not sure how that fits into this quote, but it's real. :)

Oh...i dont know. Momentary bouts of unhappiness can be blamed on someone else.
Ever stood in a line at the grocery store, running late, and the cashier and the person with a thousand items choose to talk about the kind of fabric softeners they use? Momentary unhappiness, ensues:(

Carlas avatar Carla Disagree +8Reply
@Will_Janitor YES! I get that all the time.

One of the many reasons that i hate to shop:[
I reckon that is why im in 20 year old jeans....

Carlas avatar Carla Disagree +5Reply
@Carla Oh...i dont know. Momentary bouts of unhappiness can be blamed on someone else. Ever stood in a line at the grocery...

It could be argued that in this example your unhappiness is the result of you wanting reality to be something other than it is. You don't want to be running late but you are. You don't want people slowing you down with stupid conversations but they insist.

Having said all that I know exactly what you're saying. I loathe shopping. People in a grocery store are the worst. Just wandering around without a thought.. like lost zombies.

@PhilboydStudge It could be argued that in this example your unhappiness is the result of you wanting reality to be something other...

I agree, but when I stop at a store named Kwik Trip I don't expect to have to listen to some old lady talking about her recipe for cookies after she paid for a doughnut. Get the hell out of the way and go bake something!

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@2693116

Excellent point! Stimuli outside of the brain actually causes chemical and physical changes in the brain. I'm not sure how this lady would respond to such an argument, but I'm stumped. smile smilie

I guess so, if one can just shut off all their feelings. I'm not buying it, and seeking a perpetual state of "happiness" sounds sort of ridiculous to me.

Not blaming small frustrations or other people for our unhappiness, yeah. Trying to shut off our feelings of grief, or even anger, just no.

Piper2s avatar Piper2 Disagree +6Reply
@Piper2 I guess so, if one can just shut off all their feelings. I'm not buying it, and seeking a perpetual state...

Thanks for the comment. Yea, I'm not ready to become a Buddhist monk either. And I already have the haircut. smile smilie

The concept of perpetual happiness is fool's gold. I don't believe that Buddhists would see that as a reasonable goal.

Perhaps I should have wrote "contentedness" instead of "happiness". For Buddhists, dukkha - the dissatisfaction we have with the circumstances of our lives - is caused by our desires. I think that "happiness" is thus the lack of dukkha.

Disclaimer: I'm not a Buddhist so I could be waaaay off.

@PhilboydStudge Thanks for the comment. Yea, I'm not ready to become a Buddhist monk either. And I already have the haircut...

Well, I really like the book Siddhartha. smile smilie

I have not studied the religion, but I know a little about it. I did watch the video yesterday, and as I said...not blaming other people for ones unhappiness is something I agree with, in general. Without discontent about ones circumstances though, what would be the motivation for changing what is hampering our "contentedness"?

Piper2s avatar Piper2 Disagree +4Reply
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@2693339

I agree that our state of happiness at any given moment is subject to outside forces. We can never entirely shut them out.

However, sometimes I get "lost" when listening to music. I forget about whatever was troubling me only moments before and enter a state of pleasure. So the discontentment I felt beforehand, at least in these cases, was just in my mind.

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@2693643

Well.. Yea.. smile smilie

I can't agree. What happens around you affects your mood as much as your state of mind.

Sofias avatar Sofia Disagree +5Reply
@Sofia I can't agree. What happens around you affects your mood as much as your state of mind.

That's okay. smile smilie

It doesn't work in every situation.. not by a long shot, but here is an example to counter your response..

Suppose you really like Cristiano. You go on a few dates and but after that Cristiano never calls you. This makes you feel dejected.

If you did not want Cristiano to like you, you would not feel bad at all. In this regard you can see how your unhappiness is actually being caused by thoughts in your head.

@PhilboydStudge That's okay. It doesn't work in every situation.. not by a long shot, but here is an example to counter...

I'm not sure that's a good example: I'm sad because he never calls. It's an outside action, or lack of it, that made me sad.

I get what you mean, I just don't think that is true. For what I see what's happening to us has as a big of an impact as our own state of mind. There has to be a balance. If one is bad, the chances of the other being pulled down with it are high.

Sofias avatar Sofia Disagree +3Reply
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@2696008

Wanting more than bread crumbs often makes me depressed. However, if I do ever find myself with the whole loaf I will enjoy it!

MOSTLY true. I make an exception for mental health issues like depression, which affects a person's attitude.

No, being in constant pain, having fatigue, and balance problems are all very difficult states to remain happy in.
What about starvation, could a person remain happy in a state of starvation? I doubt it.

@Creamcrackered No, being in constant pain, having fatigue, and balance problems are all very difficult states to remain happy in...

Thanks for the response.

All true. I don't of anyone who believes they can live a trouble-free life. Also I don't see how recognizing my desire to not be in pain could help me when say my arm is broke.

I think the gist of the quote has to do with the more mundane things that can trouble us. I did not adequately explain myself on this post.

@PhilboydStudge Thanks for the response. All true. I don't of anyone who believes they can live a trouble-free life. Also I...

I do understand the buddhist quote I practiced "awareness" (non attachment) for 9 year's. But suffering chronic pain makes that very difficult to do, even a broken arm can be mended, chronic (long-term) pain has no end. Psychological suffering may be a state of mind but in my experience pain caused by nerve damage or cental nervous system disorder is a lot more difficult to sustain a state of mindfulness :) Good question though.

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@2693753

I'm glad you have the opportunity to do what you truly love.

I believe I understand your love of the outdoors. I used to hunt duck and geese. I loved watching the sun rise.. often over a foggy marsh, a lake, a tree line, etc. It was sublime. That and being around my dad's hunting dogs. Labrador retrievers are simple and honest.

Suppose you're really looking forward to going fishing, but as you head out your vehicle won't start. If that gets you frustrated, it's because of your desire to go fishing and your desire to not have car problems. If your car doesn't start and you don't have those desires you wouldn't get frustrated. That's long the lines of what that quote meant to me.

I intentionally use my desires as motivation. For example, I want my co-workers to respect me. Still though, when I'm unhappy it can help if I can step back and try to understand exactly what is making me so.

I agree entirely!

Kelsang Nyema should pay a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum sometime.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...ial_and_Museum

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