Posts Tagged ‘opening the hand of thought’

Thich Nhat Hanh, 2006

In a recent talk in Dublin, the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh spoke of the happiness available to us in our everyday lives. We have only to “release our idea of happiness,” he advised, and return to the present moment, where the conditions for happiness are already to be found.*

Thich Nhat Hanh is not alone in offering this advice, nor is he unique in viewing ideas of happiness as obstacles to the experience itself. In his book Beyond Happiness, the Zen teacher Ezra Bayda deconstructs what he calls the “myth of happiness,” which holds that “we deserve to be happy, as if it’s our birthright; that we will be happy if we get what we want; that we can’t be happy if we’re in discomfort.” For Bayda, as for Thich Nhat Hanh, our common human error lies in chasing an image of future happiness. Once we have shed that illusion, we can return “again and again to staying present with exactly what we are experiencing right now.” Rather than try to manipulate our own or others’ lives, we can “surrender to what is.”** (more…)

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