How can you be happy and peaceful in modern times

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A Chinese proverb says an invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, despite the time, the place, despite the circumstances. The thread can be tightened or tangled, but never be broken. 

We are all the same. All of us want to be happy. When happiness is considered as a door to a room, peace is another door to the same room. Si it should be easy to become happy and peaceful. What is holding us back?

There are different methods to achieve happiness and peace. Respect for each other is important. Superiority ideas like ‘I am the best’, ‘my religion is the best’ or ‘my country is the best’ are barriers to happiness and peace. Respectful contacts with people with another background can help to reduce these barriers. The mix of people in these modern times gives more possibilities for such contacts.

In Tibet we have the word ‘gogsem’. That means the three ways of being: mind, body and talk. The mind is the boss. The mind is an extremely powerful tool to find the root for happiness and peace. The mind can find inner peace and happiness with your being as you are. Meditation, compassion and openness are ways to use the mind for finding peace. These ways can give you energy. Words can give a feeling of happiness. At the other hand words can make enemies. Be aware of that, when you are thinking ‘I am right and you are wrong.’ Think also about happiness of others. When you are acting with an open mind and a good heart, it will be easier to keep your relations good. That will radiate a feeling of being rich, more than when you are only focused on your own profit.

Worries make sick. Some problems we can control. When you can not control problems, let it go. Let fear go, then peace will come. Don’t grasp for happiness. Strive for stable happiness, as a second nature. When difficult situations come, it is important to know in advance how to keep peace. Be aware of anger and neutralize it before it is too late. When anger grows, it can make you blind. Anger and peace are like fire and water: they can not be together. When you think that anger is normal, you have to ask yourself the question whether suffering is normal. Suffering is the result of anger. When you are able to control anger, you are able to bring peace and as result you will reduce suffering. All of this you can do by ‘lojong’: a Tibet word for ‘training the mind’.

If you expect that you will be pushed to pass your own limits, say “no” with respect for the other. Say it in time, before you loose control over your anger. Be patient for the good moment to say it. Say “no” when the other is relaxed. Most of all: be clear. It is very important to be open about your limits in a way to make it simple for the other to understand your “no”. Look further than your own position and try to understand your relationship. It is the best to reach mutual understanding. Look for a good way to meet your limits and to strive to meet the demands of the other. Share understanding in a good atmosphere, with a cup of tea.

Face to face contact is important for good understanding. Telephone, e-mail and other ways of communication are good for ‘neutral’ messages. But when you really have to solve a problem, face to face communication is the best way to minimize the risk for uncontrolled anger. Look inside your mind before you solve a problem. You need to have inner peace before you can give it to others.

Take benefit from what you have heard so far. Use what you can use. Forget what you can not use. Make clear for yourself what works for you. Ask yourself where you can find happiness. When you know that, you have a goal to direct your activities on. Be honest to your heart and don’t follow other people blindly when they say that you can find happiness. In these modern times many people promise happiness when you follow their advises. Decide deep in your heart whether their promises may bring peace or restlessness

I received this text from the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam on the 30th of March in 2007. 


8 Happy Boosters

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1.Comforting yourself with the thought that this will also pass. Today I found myself in a devestating melancholical mood. Hey, what do you know? Even though I work as a lifecoach, I am also human! I went this morning to the gym to exercise a bit, but it didn’t give me the normal booster like it does normally. So I had to give space to this feeling of sadness. I know that this isn’t a fun way to start the ‘8 Happy Boosters’, but it is a good example that these feelings eventually will pass. What should you do to bring yourself out of this state of mind? Well, first of all, allow yourself to feel this way and then move on with little steps. In my case I was moaning a bit and then I got dressed, stepped on my bike and started my to-do list.

2.Give yourself space to choose again and again. When you find yourself in a situation that you are experiencing a dilemma between what you want to do and what you have to do. Allow yourself to choose for the thing you want to do. In a world where we expect so much of ourselvels it feels like a real gift when you allow yourself to choose again and again. There is always a new situation. There is always a choice. Give yourself the freedom of being able to choose for the things that make you happy.

3.Disconnect yourself from anything close to technology; phone, internet, tv etc! Studies show that extroverts and introverts alike get a mood boost from connecting with other people. The flipside of being involved all the time is that it makes you tired. Acknowledge the fact that you want some piece and quiteness once in a while and pick up a book, go dancing or bake a nice cake!

4.Communicate how you feel. As I told you before, I felt bad today. Once I had done some of my to-do list I thought ‘aaaahhh, it would feel so good to tell someone about how I really feel. People always think that as a lifecoach you are never to feel unstable or undecisive. Well, to be honest, as a human being like you I also go through this fases once in a while and then I need someone else to give me some positive impulses. Today my sister gave me several positive impulses. She immediately sent a link to a interesting website and motivated me by sharing a picture of a delicious cake.

5.Dress yourself nicely. Research shows that how we act depends on how we feel, but it also works the otherway around. In fact, we often feel because of the way we act. As improbable as this sounds, it really works. When you notice that you are not really in the mood to do things, don not stay in your pyjamas all day, but dress yourself nicely, create new combinations and be prepared for another day of work, party or other celebration.

6. Take time to buy presents. In Holland the month December is full of giving and receiving presents, because of Sint Nicolaas and off course Christmas. When you also have birthdays coming up this and next month then you definitely need someone who buys all the presents, but with this Happy Booster I would like to tip you on taking time to buy presents, because the receiver will feel how much time you have spent on the present. Giving a present is actually showing your beloved ones how well you know them and the smile that appears on their faces with the first glimpse on the present is priceless.

7. Talk to someone you haven’t spoken for a long time. Some friendships go and some friendships stay. Tomorrow I will have dinner with someone who I consider a dear friend of mine, but due to certain situations we didn’t have contact for a while. I believe that situations pass and the feelings of friendship stay. If we will be close friends in the future time will tell, but I know that I will enjoy my time with her tomorrow.

8. Your lucky number! Eight is actually my lucky number!! What is yours? Since 8 is the lucky number of the whole nation of China I can proudly say that I have a lot of back -up. The more people think positively about something the more it will bring you. The Happy Booster tip I would like to give you is to focus on positive things in your life. This will indeed make you happyyyyy immediately. Think of the things for which you are grateful of and focus on these great experiences, people and so on!

With these 8 Happy Boosters, I hope I inspired you to do what you want and make yourself and others happy by just being YOU!!