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Goals That Make Us Happy

This show references an article in American Psychologist titled “Mental Balance and Well-Being – Building Bridges Between Buddhism and Western Psychology”. The idea of this talk is that goals, in and of themselves, are not bad things; but that choosing goals wisely is very important. When a sense of dissatisfaction is our reality how do we choose what goal to shoot for? What will make us happy and what will not?

What we are really looking for in life is stimulus free well-being. Science is proving that stimulus driven happiness doesn’t last. This is due to both the transient nature of things, and also our own mental imbalance and lack of understanding. Science is starting to see that true well-being comes from a state of mental balance that can be cultivated. We cultivate well-being in many ways, but the one idea that primarily fosters it is self knowledge and self awareness. Choosing to make well-being, and ultimately self awareness, our goal ends up being the goal that makes us happy.

This talk tries to explain the motion of desire, and our two choices. One choice is to satisfy the desire, and again science is showing us more and more that that doesn’t work in a lasting fashion. We always want more. The other thing to do is to make well-being our real goal. Once we realize that well-being comes from self awareness and mental balance, we can choose to examine the dissatisfaction when it arises. This doesn’t mean we don’t accomplish things or have external goals. It means we understand more and more clearly what really makes us happy and what does not.

Stimulus driven goals can be meaningful, but don’t lead to lasting happiness. Understanding this is a huge step toward greater wisdom and compassion in our lives. Examining our goals to see if they are stimulus driven can be an amazing exercise in helping us find happiness.

Referenced: American Psychologist

Honoring Imbalance

In this show I discuss honoring imbalance. Many people (including myself) critique the world and describe the need for “balance” (listen to my last show, I use that very term). This talk discusses three ideas:

The first idea is that everything is in a state of achieving balance. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. As we push something over, we watch it achieve a new balance. The action involved is the “balance through movement” also known as imbalance.

The next idea is that we prefer an ideal state of balance, but that’s just not realistic. The entire world is in motion. Constantly balancing itself through imbalance. The beauty is in honoring the imbalance. We have the capability to stay still through that motion.

And lastly, on the level of betterment, imbalance brings growth. When we’re stressed and feeling the pressure, we can be comforted understanding that we are growing.