I saw that there was a poll last week that claimed that 50% of Americans are UNHAPPY.. This was interesting contemplation, and I wondered how you all would relate to that piece of information. It prompted me to look to the masters, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu. They are interviewed in The Book of Joy, which I read about a year ago.
According to them: "Lasting happiness cannot be found in pursuit of any goal or achievement. It does not reside in fortune or fame. It resides only in the human mind and heart, and it is here that we hope you will find it. " "Suffering is inevitable, but how we respond to that suffering is our choice. Not even oppression or occupation can take this freedom to choose our response." "Sadly, many of the things that undermine our joy and happiness we create ourselves. Often it comes from the negative tendencies of the mind, emotional reactivity, or from our inability to appreciate and utilize the resources that exist within us." "The real problem is here...mind and heart. Materialistic values cannot give us peace of mind. So we really need to focus on our inner values, our true humanity. Only this way can we have peace of mind--and more peace in our world....we need, ultimately, to have a greater concern for others' well-being. In other words, kindness or compassion, which is lacking now. We must pay more attention to our inner values. We must look inside." "It is wonderful to discover that what we want is not actually happiness. It is not actually what I would speak of. I would speak of joy. Joy subsumes happiness. Joy is the far greater thing."
When I read this book, I found it to be one of those books where you could open to any page and be uplifted, enriched, and the joy was a transmission right into my being. If I were to give out a homework assignment to a group of unhappy Americans, I would recommend this book. Perhaps you will consider it if you find you are needing some positive infusion.
Of course, there are many remedies that come from meditation and having a practice. They talk about that in the book, as well. And here I am offering you, yet once again, good reasons to meditate.