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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Mipham and Happiness Formula

Dorothy has had a couple of posts about "positivity," self-help, and happiness books.  It sent me searching for this video again (and yes, I know I've posted it before, but it is so cool).

 Here is a link to my review of the best book I've read on the subject of happiness.  The formula is a bit different from Mipham's, but I think that perhaps both approaches are necessary. 

And reminders are necessary.  Much of what is said about happiness and positive thinking is common sense, and we've heard many of the phrases, much of the advice over and over.  In my own case, however, I often need to be reminded.

I like the approach of some authors and am offended by the approach of other authors on the same subject.  Love some books and find them stimulating, inspirational, practical; other books, seem bland, repetitious, pretentious, and stale.

But I need and benefit from reminders.  All of the "brain" books I've read in the past year, continue to remind me of the ways in which the brain creates new maps.  Almost miraculous changes can be achieved by changing those patterns.  My favorite "brain" books so far are The Brain that Changes Itself by Dr. Norman Doidge and The Body Has a Mind of Its Own by the Blakeslees.  These books are not really about happiness, but neuroplasticity can be emotional or physical.

My yoga books are also about the possibility of change, both physical and emotional, and they blend pretty seamlessly with books about happiness, positive thinking, and neuroplasticity.  In fact, long before modern science was discovering scientific proof, yoga was engaged with the effects of many of these possible changes.

The comments on Dorothy's posts reveal our sceptical attitudes toward those who offer easy solutions (while making a profit), but every once in a while, it is possible to find something that works for us.

What about you?


  1. I enjoyed the video, Jenclair. I think that the philosophy it aspires to is valid. What about you before what about me.

    For me, I find moments of joy in the most unexpected places. And I say joy, which I think is different than happiness. I am happy with my life, happy with my husband, happy with my daughter and being a daughter. I am not happy with my mother's current mental decline. However, there are moments of joy with her. Not every day. Not every visit. But often enough. I told someone the other day that dementia has lots of dark clouds but that there are silver linings around some of them. You just have to look for them.

    Thanks for sharing, Jenclair. :-)

  2. kay - I think what you say about the difference between happiness and joy is interesting. We all have our own ways of interpreting words like "joy," "happiness," "contentment," and other emotional words.

    Experiencing those moments of joy are little blessings that can take place regardless of the situation. As my father has declined further, the moments are rarer, but still they do happen occasionally.

    I experienced real joy the other day when my husband found letters from my father and all of his siblings in response to my request for a favorite Christmas memory. That was in 1977, and all of them responded with such wonderful letters.

    I've looked for them for ages, as my father (the youngest) is the last of the six siblings. When Fee found the the letters and read them, the experience was both sad and joyful at the same time.

  3. What a lovely story, Jenclair. And I think I can understand about being sad and joyful at the same time.

  4. Your point about reminders is so important, and that's a great lesson I've learned recently. It's why I've enjoyed regular yoga classes lately -- I need the lessons about awareness and observation again and again.

  5. Kay - Well, your first comment made me realize such a recent example in my own life.

    Dorothy - :) Our minds are so busy with other things that even simple reminders like "breathe" are helpful. Yoga certainly helps keep me mindful and aware. Isn't it interesting to see everyone in the class look so relaxed after a class is over?