Happiness is grossly undervalued as a means of transforming our lives. We are taught that happiness depends entirely upon our external circumstances. If we have problems, difficulties and challenges, we can’t possibly be happy. So we postpone all hope of happiness until we reach some distant, mythical point when our problems have gone away and we are free to being enjoying life. Except that life always presents us with problems. That’s the nature of life. Our constant, daily challenge is to learn to separate our feelings from our difficulties and to bring peace into our hearts, to learn to feel a deep sense of happiness that transcends the distractions of our difficulties and find a more powerful state of being. This is not a new idea. This insight has been a vital part of human consciousness for thousands of years. It is not connected to culture or technology. It is an unchanging dynamic of the human condition. Happiness is our true heritage.
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In a world that is brimming with information, technology and extraordinary access to every conceivable subject, it is a welcome delight to step back from the present moment and its hectic pace of activity and visit the works of thinkers and philosophers who lived in ancient times. Despite the vast differences that separate the ancient world from our modern civilisation, it can be extremely beneficial to meditate on the writings of those who recorded their observations for the benefit of future generations and whose works are as relevant today as they were several thousand years ago. In many cases, we only have the scattered fragments of monumental literary works that sought to chart the vast potential of human consciousness. But since we are in so many ways the same people as those distant ancestors who inhabited the ancient world, the lessons and insights of these great thinkers serve to provide us with extraordinary insights into the mechanics and potential of the human psyche. As an antidote to the distractions of our modern civilisation, the power and presence of these ancient fragments of wisdom can restore balance and perspective to our minds and I would happily commend them to anyone seeking to find greater peace in their lives.
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