The Thirteenth Life Lesson: Understand Happiness/Suffering

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Dear Bella,
No one wants to suffer. However, I understand that happiness and suffering come in a package. So we need to understand both deeply in order to flow with our life peacefully.

There are many levels of happiness. Happiness can come from pleasure. For example, the joy from eating good food, watching a fun movie, joking with friends, etc. This kind of happiness helps us relax and it is important. But it doesn’t last long. And if we spend all of our time seeking pleasure, we will suffer from emptiness and loneliness.

There is also happiness from being loved and loving someone. This happiness makes us feel connected. . However, the feeling of love, like everything else, comes and goes. So if love involves desire and attachment, it may cause immense pain in ourselves and the others. For example, when we want to fix or change our beloved ones, the relationship becomes stressful.

A higher level of happiness come from equanimity. When we see the impermanent nature of happiness, we will understand that happiness is just the same as suffering. They both arise, exist and go. We constantly alternate between these two states of mind. Hence, the mind is always on a roller coaster that goes up and down. After seeing how the mind changes from one state to another from a distance many times, we become more neutral to the change. The neutral state of mind is also impermanent. This understanding brings about longer-lasting peace.

The highest level of happiness will be from enlightenment, total detachment from the mind and body or suffering. As I am not enlightened yet, I cannot fully comprehend this stage. I hope one day you will know more than I do.

Through experiencing and understanding different levels of happiness and suffering, we will be able to rise above the mind. Without understanding, we are like riding on the roller coaster of the mind and being controlled by it. But with the right view of the reality, we are able to stand away from the roller coaster and just observe it. This freedom helps us remain stable in a storm and see the beauty inside suffering.

May mindfulness be with you,
Mom

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