Choosing Happiness

Happiness Is A ChoiceIt may seem to be a strange thing to say, but our happiness, or otherwise, is actually a choice we make for ourselves. It’s basically tied to the way we view the challenges that life throws at us.

When something happens, something we would rather hadn’t happened, we have a choice to make. Do we throw our hands in the air and go into a mood of depression, or do we face the issue head on?

If we take the former route, only seeing the bad side of things, the issue will seem to get bigger and worse than it actually is. Our depression will make things even worse, and a negative spiral ensues. This is not a good route to a positive outcome, and even if we were to conquer the problem, it would take us longer and require more effort in the long run. How often have you got into a state over something, only to realise, in the fullness of time, that it really wasn’t as bad as you thought?

The other way to approach things, is to remain calm, look for the positives, and there will be some, rather than focussing on the negatives. A calm mind works better than a frantic mind. Focussing on the positives actually raises our life-state, which makes us feel more energetic and more able to do what needs to be done and meet the challenges head on.

Enlightenment has been described as a state in which we are continuously happy. Now that might sound a bit far fetched, but if we make the right choices, consciously and subconsciously, we can maintain a state of happiness. To attain the ability to control our minds to such a degree that we make the right choices every time is no small matter, which is why the path to enlightenment is long and winding. But I know that I am further down the path each day, and the goal is worth every ounce of effort.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cardiffsian
    Oct 14, 2013 @ 02:56:42

    hi anupadin
    I have followed your blog for quite some time now and usually find your posts inspiring and encouraging. But from one buddhist to another I have to tell you that depression is not a choice, it is an illness, just like many other illnesses, and we who live with it do not choose to have it.

    None of us chooses to suffer, we all strive for well being and happiness but sometimes we are overcome by the manifestation of fundamental darkness in our lives and have to wage an all out battle to defeat it, to beat the negativity, raise our life force and win.

    To suggest that when faced with a problem we ‘throw our hands up’ in defeat and ‘go into a mood of depression’ is to totally misunderstand the fight, sometimes daily and unrelenting, other times episodic, but for that reason no less debilitating, that 1 in 4 of us will experience in our lives.

    Fortunately, as a practising buddhist I am able to use the most powerful tool, the sword of daimoku, to slash through the black cloud when I see it descending, I am able to study my mentor’s writings and take part in activities (even when I don’t want to) because I know that sooner or later, as long as I never give up, I will come out the other side, my life state will be raised and the clouds will clear. As he has taught us, we should be the master of our own mind and not be mastered by it, which of course is a challenge when faced with depression or other mental health issues. The fighting spirit is the key, in my opinion, in the face of any kind of illness, including depression, as Sensei has said: “To experience illness is not itself misfortune, but to be defeated by illness is misfortune.”

    Finally, I’d like to tell you that, and I know this is a paradox, sometimes, in the depths of depression, I have experienced real happiness – not as a state of euphoria but as a manifestation of my own buddhahood, and this is what makes me continue to battle in those moments when it would be so much easier to give up.

    Yours respectfully



    • Anupadin
      Oct 14, 2013 @ 09:06:36

      Hi Sian,

      I am sorry that I upset you with the post, it was never my intention as I’m sure you will appreciate. I am also sorry that I did not make it clear about illness not being a choice. You may have read my posts about my eldest daughter and her battle against breast cancer. Whilst she didn’t choose to have cancer, she did choose to fight against it rather than just accepting the facts, very much it appears as you do with depression. As you say, you choose to fight against the condition with daimoku, and even find happiness in the depths of depression, that is your own choice and I applaud you for your decision. I thank you for your erudite explanation of your situation, and promise to be more aware of how my posts may appear to others who find themselves in difficult situations. I will chant for a successful outcome in your battle. Namaste ~ Anupadin


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