Monday, November 30, 2009

The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, MD


Blending common sense and modern psychiatry, The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World applies Buddhist traditions to twenty-first-century struggles in a relevant way. The result is a wise approach to dealing with human problems that is both optimistic and realistic, even in the most challenging times.

How can we expect to find happiness and meaning in our lives when the modern world seems such an unhappy place?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has suffered enormously throughout his life, yet he always seems to be smiling and serene. how does he do it? In The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World, Dr. Howard Cutler walks readers through the Dalai Lama's philosophy on how to achieve peace of mind and come to terms with life's inherent suffering. Together, the two examine the roots of many of the problems facing the world and show us how we can approach these calamities in a way that alleviates suffering and helps us along in our personal quests to be happy. Through stories, meditations, and in-depth conversations, the Dalai Lama teaches us to identify the cultural influences and ways of thinking that lead to personal unhappiness, thereby making sense of the hardships we face personally as well as the afflictions suffered by others.

Back in my college days I would have loved this book. I would have poured over it's pages and gotten lost in the words. They would have been soaked in my brain and soul to be quoted for years to all my friends until they got sick of me saying them. Now this was when I was devouring books like The Celestine Prophecy and Mutant Message Down Under and could occasionally be found deep in thought taking myself way too seriously.

Now that I'm a little older, OK a little more than a little but not too much, I found myself fading in and out while I was reading it. I wanted to take it seriously and ingest the knowledge being offered by someone who is not only smarter than me but more at peace with themselves than I am. I just couldn't connect with it. I'm not sure if it's that I'm not in the right place in my life, if my mind was preoccupied with work (retail over Thanksgiving weekend), or if I'm just not that interested in the subject matter anymore. Whatever the reason I found myself wanting to enjoy it, but I couldn't.

I would highly encourage everyone to read this book because it may be the right fit for them. I may keep it around for a while and try it out again at a later date.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't sound like this one's really up my alley, either.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

This sounds like a really strong read. I like to have my reads where I have to think and figure things out, but this kind of thinking seems harder when reading. I think I will have to pass on this one as well. I kind of like to escape from the problems of the world my own way...