The ART of Happiness

Patch Adams, Doctor Humor

<Rob> Greetings all!  Especially you Susan Rose.
<^Witelite> hello
<Susanrose> I am in Pittsburgh,
where are you from?
<faerie> Australia
<Phyta> Atlanta
<CNH> Austin, Texas
<gypsyardor> I'm in Pittsburgh.
<Reiki2u> St. Louis, Missouri USA
<oldgold> Hi, I am from Salt Lake City, Utah
<faerie> Susan my nick use to be laughter
im a friend of Patch Adams
<Susanrose> Great, please let him know about this
topic when it is visible on the web.
<degoanna> Adelaide Australia here
<Susanrose> I want to tell you that Sunshine,
Sandra and gypsyardor live near me in Pittsburgh.
<Rob> And Sandra is my beloved, but I am in Atlanta.
<zan> Brandon, Mississippi here
<margarita> I'm in Hollywood,  Florida

<Susanrose> Time to start!
welcome alex and lotus
WE NEED to relax now

Breathe together
Breathe together, and create a group mind
Breathing deep now.
Breathe in peace

Breathe out concerns
Breathing together
Breathe in light
Breathe out fear

Breathe in.......Deep

       The Art of Happiness

June 27, 1999

Well folks
I put in "happiness" in the netscape search engine,
and came up with
Unfortunately, it is under construction.
Ahhh isn't that like life?  Always looking for happiness
and always under construction.

I am reminded of our constitutional right to
On July 4th 1776,  it was declared:
"That all men are created equal; that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights;
that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

<CNH> for historical perspective:
the first draft said Pursuit of property
that was voted down
and happiness was inserted in its place
<susanrose> Thank you, I didn't know that!
So the question is..
Do we have the right to happiness,
or just the right to pursue it?
Guess the question must be answered by you.
Have you given yourself permission to be happy?

It was Abraham Lincoln who said
"We are about as happy as we make up our minds to be."
Abraham had a civil war,
Generals who did not listen to him,
a child who died, a depressed wife.  But for his sake, and
the good of the country, he used his inner
discipline to make a choice for happiness.

Some people claim that choosing to be happy,
even when frustrations abound is phony.
That you are denying your actual experience.
Well, after a short amount of given time to objectively
reflect on the problem at hand, it is much healthier
to lay it aside and go ahead with a new decision to
reclaim your baseline of happiness.

While some may say this is self-deceit, it is actually
a trick that will convince your subconscious to live "as if"
things were really happy as you wished.

Since what you
think about expands, you manifest in your
"real" life the kind of joyful experiences that you hoped
you could attract.

<Phyta> Quote : "We all know the truth.
Our lives consist of how we choose
to distance ourselves from it."
<susanrose> :)  I like, Phyta

I recently was shopping at a gift shop
(South Side, Pittsburgh)
 that had this quote
ready to be framed.  I think I will go back to buy it.

"Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the
end of the day saying:
I will try again tomorrow."

Choosing happiness is a spiritual  and mental
discipline, an  *art* to be practiced.  And when
you get good it, it becomes a positive habit that
will attract more joyful expansion of thought.

Beginning each day with the hope
 is a gift I wish to share with my 19 year old daughter,
…even on days when it is feels extremely hard.

Like James Stewart in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life",
we may not value the power that these daily small choices.
 Like the angel showed Jimmy in the story,
whether you realize it or not, you have great power in your
daily routine life.

He was shown his town, his family,
his wife… all as if he was never born.  When he returned
to his real life, he was filled with the power of
gratitude for all he had been able to affect.

He found the power to shift perspective.
His money was still lost, yet he saw only joy, where
before he saw despair.

Magic is the art of changing consciousness at will.
You too can make the magic happen.

<CNH> a positive attitude often results
in "small" magical happenings
<Phyta> i define magic as a way of looking
at the world ... how one chooses to
understand their perceptions
magic is always being truthful and conquering fear
<gypsyardor> Yes, that is what I have found, Phyta.
And such extreme peace comes with the truthfulness.
Magic to me is doing exactly
what you are talking about. My new way of living
(hard at times) is to realize that whatever
I think/believe is what will come to be.
So I have been thinking/creating happiness and all
sorts of wonderful things for myself. ;-)

<oldgold> It is to consciously transcend
the voices that bring you down.
To see them for what they are.

One way is through Gratitude.
Counting your blessings.
There is a saying
I thought I was bad off when I had no shoes,
then I met a man with no feet.

I also heard the saying
In the land of the blind, the one - eyed man is king.
As a test to think of all you still value in your life,

As yourself the question…
Would you give a million dollars..
for all that you have ( family, friends, belongings and personal identity)
Regardless of our circumstances the majority would say NO.

GRATITUDE is a common thing I see in some people with incredible
misfortune.  For example, a person with a terminal illness who
wakes up every day ready to live in the now to its fullest.

Actor Christopher Reeve was thrown from a horse in 1994
that left him paralyzed.  Reeve experience a period
of despair while in the hospital, but these feelings passed.
He now considers himself to be a "Lucky" guy.
He cites the blessings of  a loving wife and children
and spoke gratefully about the advances of modern medicine,
stating that if he had been hurt
 a few years earlier, he would have died from his injuries.

Reeve states:
"I realized that the only way to go through life
 is to look at your assets, to see what you can still do."
Reeve has become a pubic speaker, and plans to write and direct films.

I work in a medical clinic, and
people often ask you when you pass in the hallway…
How you doing?  I have frequently said back to them…
If you wake up in the morning and nothing hurts, it’s a good day.

One time my patient said back in quick response
If you WAKE UP it is a good day.
After thinking about that,  I can see there are many definitions
of  being truly AWAKE.  Are you awake?  Am I?

<gypsyardor> I think the more I am awake...
and it is a conscious effort to be so for me...
the easier it is to realize when I am not awake
(like the days when I am in a haze
and not fully connected, etc.)

<oldgold> A million dollars could never replace
my friends and family.
Nothing will bring my brother back
who died a few weeks ago.
But he would want me to learn this art
of happiness and moving on.
<susanrose> :)  much love to oldgold
in her loss of her brother
let's all picture NOLAN smiling down
on our little group
prayer for his spirit and family...
light and love surrounds
and blesses all that he is and all that we are.
we are one....
<oldgold> And so it is.
<susanrose> There was a story about a woman
who went to the Buddha because her child had died
she would not let go of the dead child
she asked that the Buddha bring her child back to life.
The Buddha said...that can be done
all you need to do is bring me a handful
of mustard seeds from a family and I will restore you child
"But" it must come from a family who has not lost
a brother, sister, servant, or parent.

She looked and looked and although everyone
would give her the handful of mustard seed
no one could say that they too had not experienced loss.
So with that knowledge, we realize that loss
is "life deepening"  with feeling
as we all share the same experience.
When she realized she was not alone in this,
she was able to let go and lay her child to rest.
<Phyta> we're all on the same team.

<susanrose> yes... all spirit is one,
and Oldgold knows I am sure
that spirit never dies.
Nolan will be with you now
in ways he could not be when in form
<susanrose> {{{{{Oldgold}}}}}
<oldgold> truly Thank you.

A trick to dispel gloom and raise vibrations is a chant.
You cannot be sad when you are in a state of praise and gratitude.
Repeat these two sentences over and over….
Praise God!
For my Life!
Then fill in the blank with other names for God
and other things you can be grateful for.

For example:

Praise ____________
For my ___________

Praise spirit  for my soul
Praise life for my form
Praise love for my mother
Praise Beauty for my planet.

Praise Grace for my service.
Praise the divine for my will..
Can you think of more?

The following story was found at
A nice parable for seeing happiness.

The teacher asked the little girl if she could make a statue of an elephant.
Without a moments hesitation, the little girl said "of course I can" -
sort of surprised, the teacher inquired
"how would you do that?"  The response - "I would take a big
block of granite and chip away all the pieces that were not an elephant."

Darling answer.  She knew the elephant was inside all the time -
all she had to do was chip away the pieces that kept you from seeing it.

Happiness  is the same as the elephant,
it is there all the time, we just have to chip away the unhappy
and all that's left is happiness.  In kind of an odd twist, it turns out,
the path to happiness begins when we first decide to stop being unhappy,
i.e.: when we start to chip away each unhappy feeling.

One way to chip away at the unhappy thoughts is to
strip down to your inner child, the innocent desire to
be born and sense all that the physical realm can offer.
This is why I dropped my magical role as "Arianna"
and reclaimed my birth name. (Susan Rose)

Children are born to be happy.

Touching and being
touched during these early months of life are also joyful experiences
with no sexual overtones ... no connotations;
the array of physical and genital receptors are just

aspects of the sensory encounter.
For the infant, there is merely the intake, the digestion
and interaction with the universe.

His world is okay for the baby and lives spontaneously,
an awestruck sponge without judgments.

It sounds beautiful. . . . Incredible! What happens?
Why and when do we stop?

This story reminds me of my meeting last November
with Patch Adams, MD.   A genius who sailed through
medical school… arousing the ire of others who could
not believe he had the intellect
to grasp all the
education there with a minimum about of study time.
The mental giant at the same time values the innocence
and loving ability of  a speechless idiot that he portrays
with his clowning.  It is his way of expressing this
innocent kindness without expectation.

Patch Adams was a movie that affected my life
because it showed the true story of how a man found
a method of living life in happiness.

He discovered this
while he was being hospitalized for depression.
Reaching out to other patients, helping one another,
he hit on a formula that changed his life.

In his book "House Calls, How to Heal the World One Visit at a Time"
he quote Mary Oliver.
"When it's over I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement."

Thank you Virgie Morning Star

Keeping yourself in a state of amazement  is not being
bewildered, but in a state of gratitude for all the incredible
beauty and curiosity of all that we see.

One of my favorite past times as a child was sitting on a
warm sidewalk, watching ants.  Seeing where they go,
What they were doing, and where was their purpose or
direction.  It was amazing to think of such a minute part
of life having such determination.

So being amazed at life does not mean you need trips
to Disney.  The cracks in your driveway are teeming with
life and with imagination one can fine entertainment
everywhere.  I know a man with a sand collection.

Every beach he has visited he takes a scoop of sand.
He tells me of the beauty and variety of the sand grains
when seen under a microscope.  I would like to see them!

Patch Adams states :
"Imagination is the ultimate playmate.  It goes any where
and does anything with you at no cost.
We never touch a fraction of our imagination potential.
Use your imagination with passion."

Despite his clown attire, Patch reminds us that making life
fun for yourself and others need not be hard.  He does not
put any stress into whether or not he can make people laugh.
For those of us who are somewhat serious, sharing humor
with others can sound difficult.

In this regard, he reassures us that offering your humorous
nature to others can be accomplished simply, as he defines it:
"Humor is
a smile on your face
a twinkle in your eye
and a willingness to greet."
Patch Adams, MD

Patch Greeting Pittsburgh Supporter and Cancer ALIVER

Hope is contagious.
Remember that your stranger you smile at
becomes another person's
potential hope bringer.

 I have often noticed
that a driver who was just let into a long line of traffic
is more likely to let YOU in when you need to merge.
I often utilize this when trying leave a lane that is ending!

OK, Susan, you are probably thinking,
You convinced me that making a choice to be happy
is advantageous, but what tools can you give me to
help me develop the art of being happy?

How do you life your spirits?
Buy a new dress? Music?  Sing alongs?
I recently purchased a cd called
Chicken Soup for the Soul
Celebrating Life - wish such songs such as Joy to the World,
It's a Wonderful World,  Don't Worry Be Happy, etc.
(Patch Adams said that no one should
feel down when they have Music.)

To help you with this,
this is some of the information I learned from the book
"The Art of Happiness".  ISBN 1-57322-111-2
It was written by a Psychiatrist
Howard Cutler, MD, from Arizona,
based on the Buddhist teachings of the Dali Lama.

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama is one person in this world who has
really had his share of troubles.  Even though he is
the  spiritual leader of the Tibet, he has been a
refugee from his homeland, has had to be concerned about
many displaced people and monasteries, and even his
young successor is imprisoned in China!

Yet, every time you see him, he's laughing or at least smiling.
And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling.
Despite the loss of his country, if you ask him if he is happy,
he will give you an unconditional "Yes".

He states:
"The very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.
That is clear….we are all seeking something better I life.
So, I think the very motion of our life is towards happiness."

<gypsyardor> A Chinese proverb shared
with me by a dear friend:  If there is light in the soul,
There will be beauty in the person.

If there is beauty in the person,
There will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
There will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.
<Phyta> Confucius

<PWest> are happiness and peace the same thing?
<sandra> if i am peaceful, i sure am happy.
but i can be happy and not necessarily peaceful
<PWest> but peace isn't selfish
<susanrose> happiness is not selfish
the best joy springs from that which
is one with divine will.

<sandra> if could be happy hurting another,
during my divorce, there was a period of rage.
if i could have inflicted it at that moment
i would have been extremely happy, but peaceful I was not
<PWest> thats what i mean sandra, happiness
can have self-interest
<sandra> peaceful is experienced like extremely mellow.
Nothing one way or the other needs to happen,
divine trust that everything is exactly like it needs to be.
<susanrose> people who are happy are better
able to be of service, so it is good to try to be happy
<oldgold> When I am not happy, I am not available for others.
<susanrose> the first part of happiness is the absence
or to be free of suffering

<susanrose> maybe we should define happy
versus what feels pleasurable
do not feel guilty about wanting happiness
<oldgold> Right.
It is selfish not to attain happiness and be more
available for others.
<susanrose> It is a disservice
to the world if you do not take care of your
happiness/beauty connection....
Do not bury your Talent for joyfulness.
Now I walk in beauty... beauty is before me...

Extending your joy by demonstrating this love
through in the physical world is helping
"tend the Garden" that was to be our responsibility.
Aligning with our true purpose brings us joy.
We are here to manifest our creative expression
of love through form.
But when you over-indulge in pleasures,
at first you think you are happy, but it catches
up with you and makes you sad.
<oldgold> so that was not happiness.
About pleasure.  Your will is the dog and the
pleasure is the tail.  Let the dog wag the tail,
not the tail wag the dog. Addictions are like the
tail spinning the dog around in a circle, so he
can go NO where.  Self discipline
is keeping your tail in check!
<PWest> amen about overindulgence rose ;)

Here are some of the reminders that I gleaned from the book
"The Art of Happiness"
I am summarizing in my own words
so please forgive me if I misinterpret His Holiness,
The Dali Lami, or Howard Cultler, MD  the author.

1. You have a right to be happy, a right to not suffer.
When you imagine what it would feel like to suffer as
others are you will develop compassion.

Living compassionately
respects others rights for happiness. As you experience life
compassionately, you will elicit a warmth from others in return.
This will allow you the ability to never need to be lonely.
You will see that everyone is the same.  The stranger you meet
will light up to your compassionate personality as well as an
old friend.

2.  The first step in happiness is learning.
We train our minds for happiness by learning how harmful
negative emotions are.

The principle of causality is a natural law.
"In the case of every day experience,
if there are types of events that you do not desire then the
best method of ensuring that the
event does not take place is to make sure that the causal
conditions that normally give rise to that even no longer arise.
 Similarly, if you want a particular experience to occur,
then the logical thing to do is to seek and accumulate the
causes and conditions that give rise to it."

… in other words, lead a wholesome life.
Practice a healthy ethical life style.
Do not associate yourself with people places or events
that will raise the likelihood of unhappiness.
I recall  the saying
if you sleep with dogs, you will get fleas.
Stay out of the dog pen if you don't want to get bit or get fleas!

3.  Realize that romance can leave a lot to be desired in
providing lasting happiness.  Deepen your connection to others
in ways  that are not conditional on
story book endings.

…my thought on a deeper relating to others. (S.R.)
 Sometimes helping others bring you joy.
Don't deny others the joy of helping you as well.
I have found that asking the advice of  bedfast patients,
(for example, on auto maintenance, child rearing, home purchases,
or the weather report)
often lights up their day, please with their ability that they too can still help.

<oldgold> It seems as though it is important to give
ourselves permission to be happy.  This does not take anything
away from anyone.  It actually allows us to be there
for others.

<Lotus> beautiful teachings ~*  sometimes
i have found that i can reach underneath
suffering to contact happiness, especially
when working with others.  i'm a therapist,
work in hospital & homes

<susanrose> Lotus, please read the book
The Art of Happiness it is an explanation of
The Dalai Lamas teaching as explained by a w
estern MD psychiatrist.

The doctor was so enthralled with the Dalai Lama that
he followed him and even got the Dalai Lama to come
to Phoenix and organized a 5 day conference on happiness.

Excited, the psychiatrist wrote down
some of his most perplexing patient histories and asked
the Lama why people do what they do in different scenarios.

<susanrose> The Lama shrugged good naturedly and said
"I don't know"
The doctor was aghast, for years he was waiting for the
opportunity to question His Holiness. He wanted to
share an instruction manual that could codify
treatment of such problems.

Instead the Lama told him
that many sources of unhappiness can never be explained
They may be from outside the subconscious since
everyone is uniquely different, they all had unique
influences of many lifetimes to affect their choices.

So do not get too worried about finding the cause.
Say you lost something, and you are convinced it
can be found in a certain room.  And you keep looking
and looking, in this room.  It may be lost outside
the room, but if you refuse to see that the solution
may not be in the room you will become frustrated.
Looking for the answer to behavior in the subconscious
memories of experiences is like that.  The answer
may be in the room, or it may not be.  Just do
not invest a lot of time saying the answer MUST
be there, if you only look hard enough.

Better to work on the principles of causality now
to prevent unhappiness and go on from here.

Thought as a therapist,
you would be interested in hearing that answer from
the Dali Lama to the psycho-therapist,  Lotus ...(giggle)
<Lotus> yes much*

<susanrose> One LAST POINT from the Dali Lama....
If you find yourself suffering...
and no matter what you do you cannot stop your pain.
for example..... you are in hurting and can't
get to help.
The last ditch effort in gaining some peace
and some kind of joy out of your suffering
is to offer your strength as a prayer
to help others a that moment all over the world
who are likewise suffering.
Finding that your pain is one with theirs
and offering them to connect and
to unite with your strength
is the best final solution.

<oldgold> Nice.
In summary, I have found happiness to be an art.
Like any art, unless you are a child protégé, it takes a
learning curve.  And if you don't stay in practice, you can
get rusty.

 But like a memorized piece of music, at some point
the sheet music is thrown away, and the creation of the
melody flows without effort and thought.
The best music is starts with a smile and
Laughter is a human windchime.
May we all learn the art of happiness.

<susanrose> thank you all for coming!!!!
<Rob> Be not only as the rose, Susan Rose,
but so too the gardener.
I must leave to do my paperwork.
Thank you.  Bye to all
<oldgold> Susan Rose is the rose and the gardener.
<gypsyardor> I think susan does act as the gardener too! ;-)
She brings us together to cultivate new ideas, etc.
<susanrose> Thanks for the compliments...
hehe always helps to invite friends :)
<oldgold> Thanks for the topic.
Thank you Susan Rose!  Good night.
<Lotus> thank you soooo much susanrose****
beautiful talk **
<susanrose> you will see the entire talk on
the web page in a few weeks
<Lotus> it's so beneficial to have the
website to refer to
<CNH> thanks, susanrose
<MrC> thank you
<sandra> good night my dear friend,
lovely the way you always handle these topics.
good night all gathered here. peace, peace peace