Finding The Blue Sky: A Mindful Approach To Choosing Happiness Here And Now

Paperback | October 4, 2016

byJoseph Emet

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Joseph Emet explores the intersection between Positive Psychology--the study of what makes people happy--and the ancient wisdom of Buddhism.

Positive Psychology—with its focus not on mental "disease," but rather on what actually makes people happy—has revolutionized the way that we look at mental health. What many people don't realize, however, is that Positive Psychology is not as young a field of inquiry as we think. In fact, according to Joseph Emet, the original positive thinker was the Buddha himself.

In this wise and inspiring book, Emet traces the fascinating intersection between the age-old wisdom of Buddhism and the latest scientific research into what makes people happy.  In this book readers will discover:

* How to replace negative thinking with positive thinking
* How to move from frenzied thinking to quiet contemplation
* The duty we have to others to live a happy life

As Joseph explains in this work, the blue sky of happiness is found just beyond the grey clouds of sadness, everyday concerns, stress, or anxiety. Readers will find that the advice in this book can act as the gentle wind that clears those clouds away.

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From the Publisher

Joseph Emet explores the intersection between Positive Psychology--the study of what makes people happy--and the ancient wisdom of Buddhism. Positive Psychology—with its focus not on mental "disease," but rather on what actually makes people happy—has revolutionized the way that we look at mental health. What many people don't realize,...

JOSEPH EMET trained with Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh at Plum Village in France and was made a Dharma teacher in Thich Nhat Hanh's tradition. He has a doctorate in music from Boston University and is the author of Buddha's Book of Sleep (winner of the 2013 COVR Award for Book of the Year), Buddha's Book of Stress Reduction, and Buddha's ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8.2 × 5.4 × 0.5 inPublished:October 4, 2016Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143109634

ISBN - 13:9780143109631

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We are what we think.All that we are arises with our thoughts.With our thoughts we make the world.Speak or act with an impure mind and trouble will follow youAs the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.Speak or act with a pure mindAnd happiness will follow you as your shadow, unshakable.— Buddha, The DhammapadaWith these verses, Buddha hands us the keys to his kingdom, for today’s thoughts will form tomorrow’s habits, and tomorrow’s habits will form our character, and our character will affect the course of our lives. Pretty soon, you are talking about destiny—something people have imagined as being written in the stars.  But do this in reverse, and you are back where you started from—to thoughts. And thoughts can be changed— it often happens spontaneously, but we can also do it intentionally with mindfulness. Now, work forward, and you are soon changing destiny without having to travel to the stars.  Picture a dog following its nose. During the days when we had a dog, we found it rolling in a pile of manure more than once. It had found the manure by following its nose as we let it run loose in open fields. Now picture a hummingbird. Unlike a dog, it has almost no sense of smell. It follows its sense of sight. For a hummingbird, brighter is better, so it ends up in brightly colored flowers sipping sweet nectar. It spends its days enjoying flowers.  The hummingbird and the dog are programmed by nature, but unlike these two animals, we have the ability to change our programming. We can, if we have vision and persistence, learn to change our ingrained patterns of thinking, and train ourselves to be more like a hummingbird. We can form beneficial new habits. William James, the pioneer of American psychology, considered habit so important that he wrote a treatise on it. This is how it begins: “When we look at living creatures from an outward point of view, one of the first things that strike us is that they are bundles of habits.” He continues, “Any sequence of mental action which has been frequently repeated tends to perpetuate itself; so that we find ourselves automatically prompted to think, feel, or do what we have been before accustomed to think, feel, or do, under like circumstances, without any consciously formed purpose, or anticipation of results.” William James had no illusions about the strength of habit and conditioning. He observed that habit “alone prevents the hardest and most repulsive walks of life from being deserted by those brought up to tread therein . . . It holds the miner in his darkness, and nails the countryman to his log cabin and his lonely farm through all the months of snow.” We may continue with, “And it keeps the grouchy grumpy, the pessimist gloomy, the lonely alone, the anxious worried, the stressed tense, the depressed sad, the aggressive combative, and the angry mad.”  But there is hope for change.  James considered that we can learn to “make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy. For this we must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can, and guard against the growing into ways that are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we should guard against the plague.” Each of these “ways that are likely to be disadvantageous” is the focus of a chapter in this book. In addition, each chapter contains exercises for developing specific habits that will move us toward happiness. Those exercises are found in the Time for Practice section of each chapter. It takes practice to change habits, for our habits live in the unconscious. If we are to succeed in changing them, we must reprogram the unconscious. Use habit formation to your advantage. Dancers do it, musicians do it, athletes do it, and all those who learned a new language have done it. As I was learning the T’ai Chi form, I was conscious that I was learning a new set of habits— a new way to move, where movement is initiated from the center—and giving up old habits such as my round- shouldered posture. Habits are not all negative; beneficial new habits can be learned.  Think of each chapter of this book as describing another condition for the flower of happiness to grow in your life.  After you go through the book once, you can open a page at random, and see what that section has in store for you today. Or you can glance through the Table of Contents and pick a practice that seems appropriate for the day. You can download it at Mindfulness MeditationCentre.org/finding-the-blue-sky/ and work with it. The practice supplements are an integral part of this book. You will find that they will grow on you as you use them.