Ricard repeatedly writes that happiness takes work, but promises that it’s work we’re all fitted for if we’re willing. We don’t have to toss our western careers and lifestyles and move to Tibet, we can detach from the toxins of our culture, from our habitual acquisitiveness and busy-ness, at will.
This wisdom can be summed up in a few words: nothing is more precious than life, and in order to be happy we just need to learn to love life and enjoy it in the proper, adaptable way, in accordance with our own natures.
And also like Chuang Tzu, and the current Dalai Lama, Montaigne has a happy sense of humor. He laughs at himself and invites us all to lighten up in a spirit of gentle self-mockery: On the highest thrones we’re still seated on our asses, etc. What fun he would have had with TV’s viagra and cialis spots.
But, just learn to love life really seems more promissory than practical – kind of like the Pythons’ “How to Do It.”
Here’s Jackie to tell you how to rid the world of all known diseases… Well, first of all become a doctor and discover a marvelous cure for something, and then, when the medical world really starts to take notice of you, you can jolly well tell them what to do and make sure they get everything right so there’ll never be diseases any more.
Tune in next time, sure, but don’t expect anyone to teach you how to love life. That’s the self-help each of us has to manage for ourselves if we can. The happy example of a radiant French-Tibetan scientist/monk, and a TED Talk or two (or two dozen) is more than encouraging, but ultimately the pursuit of happiness is personal.
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