Happiness

Having completely over-worked myself for the last week (must remember to acquire some self-control), today has been about reading and relaxing.

I’ve been enjoying a pot of chamomile tea, reading my book and listening to the soothing tones of ‘Andy’s dinosaur rap’…

My current read is ‘Happiness’ by Matthieu Ricard. It was recommended to me by possibly the most joyful, chirpy person that I know, so of course I had to read it!

So far, it hasn’t disappointed. So much so that I had to write this review before I even finished reading it.

The author is a Buddhist monk, who started his adult life working in the field of cellular genetics. A review on the cover of his book claims that ‘readers…find themselves in the presence of an extraordinary human being’ (Daniel Kahneman), and he’s not wrong. Reading Ricard’s book truly feels like he’s here, sharing my pot of tea and enlightening me to the secrets of the human mind!

The book is incredibly easy to follow and yet Ricard’s understated intelligence is evident on every page.

The book starts by discussing what true happiness is and why we should seek to bring it into our lives. It continues, covering suffering and the enemies of happiness, remedying disturbing and unwanted emotions, happiness and humility, loving kindness and its link with our own happiness and more.

‘Happiness’ is full of wisdom drawn from many areas including Buddhism, the field of psychology, writers and prisoners of war. I’ve really enjoyed the quotes and anecdotes that Ricard has peppered his book with. It really feels like he’s pooled information and wisdom from all areas, making it less of a personal lecture and more of a sharing conversation.

There are exercises to try at the end of each chapter, but simply reading this book seems to have a mood lifting effect on me.

Ricard’s history as a scientist really shows with research backing up the philosophies discussed.

Easy to read and uplifting, each chapter seems to be incredibly enlightening and relevant.

I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone-in fact I think I’ll probably start reading it from the beginning again when I finish it!

To top it all off, I believe Ricard forwards all profits from the book to charitable works, which in itself sets you off on the path to happiness, which as Ricard suggests is not just about loving yourself but others too!

Thank you Matthieu Ricard!

Update: Ricard has done a TED talk on the habits of happiness. It’s only about 20 minutes long and definitely worth watching.

Click here and enjoy the talk!

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