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For thousands of years, we've believed that in order to find happiness, we need to change the world around us: a bigger house, more money, a healthier body, a more attractive or understanding partner. With these beliefs as our unconscious religion, we've spent our lives at war with the world. Trying desperately to get reality to match our stories of how we believe it "should" be, we wonder why we don't feel any lasting sense of peace. But how can we feel peace when mentally we're engaged in war, wanting everything to be different than it is. [...] I am simply a woman without a story. --Byron Katie (in Untitled)

Unfortunately, happiness is often equated with physical health and material goods. One of life's cruel paradoxes is that the more we are afraid of losing what we have, the less free we are. As much as we should cherish life, it is a slippery slope to becoming slaves to the fear of death. The most free men and women I have ever known are those who are not afraid of losing it all. They are not reckless about life but have simply and miraculously matched political freedom with spiritual freedom. --Bob Kerry (in Untitled)

The place where we can most directly open to the mystery of life is in what we don't do well; in the places of our struggles and vulnerability. These places always require surrender and letting go; when we let ourselves become vulnerable, new things can be born in us. In risking the unknown we gain a sense of life itself. And most remarkably, that which we have sought is often just here, buried under the problem and the weakness itself. When difficulties arise, we project our frustration into them as if it were the rain, the children, the world outside that was the source of our discomfort. We imagine that we can change the world and then be happy. But it is not by moving the rocks that we find happiness and awakening, but by transforming our relationship to them. --Jack Kornfield (in Mystery of Life)

The sculptor, Michelangelo, was once asked how it was that he could create such beautiful works. "It's very simple," he answered. "When I look at a block of marble, I see the sculpture inside it. All I have to do is remove what doesn't belong." The master says: "There is a work of art each of us was destined to create. That is the central point of our life, and -- no matter how we try to deceive ourselves -- we know how important it is to our happiness. Usually, that work of art is covered by years of fears, guilt and indecision. But, if we decide to remove those things that do not belong, if we have no doubt as to our capability, we are capable of going forward with the mission that is our destiny. That is the only way to live with honor." --Paulo Coelho (in Untitled)

Can the joy of yesterday ever be repeated today? The desire for repetition arises only when there is no joy today; when today is empty we look to the past or the future. The desire for repetition is desire for continuity, and in continuity there is never the new. There is happiness, not in the past or the future, but only in the movement of the present. --J. Krishnamurti (in Untitled)


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