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Posts Tagged ‘William James’

How can we choose happiness?

“The greatest discovery of any generation
is that human beings can alter their lives
by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.

Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,

go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.

Think of the beauty that again and again 
discharges itself within and without you and be happy.”

~ Anne Frank





Introduction to “How can we choose happiness?”

Dear Friends,

The following essay about choosing happiness was composed and published ten years ago. Since then we’ve begun experiencing an extraordinarily stressful post-pandemic period, when it’s more difficult than ever before for many of us to feel happy.

Accordingly I’ve updated this happiness essay, and supplemented it with a large collection of key spiritual quotations (mostly from Rumi) with deep insights about experiencing happiness, even in traumatic times.

These writings are deeply dedicated to our choosing happiness by elevating our behaviors and attitudes, beyond prevailing polarized and fearful levels of human consciousness.

They are intended to encourage us to gratefully cherish our lives as gifts of God and Nature, and thereby to help bless the world and all Life everywhere as LOVE.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Quotation Collection About Choosing to BE Happy


“The greatest discovery of any generation
is that human beings can alter their lives
by altering the attitudes of their minds.”
~ Albert Schweitzer

“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery
that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds,
can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
~ William James

“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”
~ William James

“If you have made up your mind to find joy within yourself,
sooner or later you shall find it. Seek it now, daily,
by steady, deeper and deeper meditation within.
Make a true effort to go within and you shall find there
your longed-for happiness.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.

Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,

go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.

Think of the beauty that again and again 
discharges itself within and without you and be happy.”

~ Anne Frank


“The root of joy is gratefulness…

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands.

For it is not joy that makes us grateful;

it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

“Whatever happens to you, don’t fall in despair. Even if all the doors are closed, a secret path will be there for you that no one knows. You can’t see it yet but so many paradises are at the end of this path…
Be grateful! It is easy to thank after obtaining what you want,
thank before having what you want.”
~ Rumi


For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


“If you want to be happy, BE.”

~ Leo Tolstoy

“Always be joyful. That is the only truly saintly state.”

~ Saint Teresa of Avila


“True happiness is to enjoy the present,

without anxious dependence upon the future.”

~ Seneca

“Do not look back,
No one knows how the world ever began.
Do not fear the future, Nothing lasts forever.
If you dwell on the past or future,
You will miss the moment.”
~ Rumi

“Except for Love, nothing you see will remain forever.”
~ Rumi

“Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased.
Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken.
But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever.”
~ Rumi

“In every religion there is love,
yet love has no religion.”
~ Rumi

“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.”
~ Rumi

“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.”
~ Rumi

“Don’t dismiss the heart, even if it’s filled with sorrow.
God’s treasures are buried in broken hearts.”
~ Rumi

“Every leaf that grows will tell you:
what you sow will bear fruit,
so if you have any sense my friend,
don’t plant anything but Love.”
~ Rumi

“It’s your road, and yours alone.
Others may walk it with you,
but no one can walk it for you”
~ Rumi

“Yesterday I was clever,
so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
~ Rumi

“We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us.”
~ Rumi

“One of the marvels of the world:
The sight of a soul sitting in prison
with the key in its hand.”
~ Rumi

“While the mind sees only boundaries,
Love knows the secret way there.”
~ Rumi

“Love said to me,

there is nothing that is not me.

Be silent.”

~ Rumi

“Last night
I begged the Wise One to tell me
the secret of the world.
Gently, gently, he whispered,
“Be quiet,
the secret cannot be spoken,
It is wrapped in silence.””
~ Rumi

“There is nothing outside of yourself, look within.
Everything you want is there.
You are That.”
~ Rumi

“You are not just the drop in the ocean.
You are the mighty ocean in the drop.”
~ Rumi

It’s not our longitude

Or our latitude,

But the elevation of our attitude,

That brings beatitude.

***

So an attitude of gratitude

Brings beatitude.

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings



Remember with gratitude,

Life is beatitude –

Even its sorrows and pain;

For we’re all in God’s Grace,

Every time, every place, and

Forever (S)HE will reign!

~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings


How can we choose happiness?


Q.  Sometimes I’m happy and sometimes I’m sad.
Why aren’t I always happy?



A.  Even if our basic needs are satisfied and we are not suffering physically,
we aren’t always happy because of our state of mind– thoughts and moods which are ever changing and always alternating between happiness and unhappiness.



Q.  How can we be happier?



A.  By uplifting our mental and emotional attitudes.
Though we may not be free to choose our outer circumstances in life,
we are always free to choose our inner attitudes and thoughts about them.
Because we karmically ‘reap as we sow’,
our free will –not destiny– mostly determines whether we experience happiness.



Q.  Can we choose happiness?

A.  Yes!
We can choose happiness by mindfully discarding our thoughts of unhappiness.
And by gratefully accepting our lives as precious blessings.
So, we can choose happiness by gratefully saying “yes” to life.



Q.  It’s easy to advise that, but not easy to follow that advice.



A. Choosing happiness can be much easier said than done –
but it’s definitely doable.


Just as we can always choose to put a smile on our face, however we may feel,
we can always choose to replace unhappy thoughts
with attitudes of acceptance, gratitude and compassion.
Thereby, we eliminate the negative by accentuating the positive.

By thus choosing happiness, we can radically improve our lives.

So let us:



Remember with gratitude,

Life is beatitude –

Even its sorrows and pain;

For we’re all in God’s Grace,

Every time, every place, and

Forever (S)HE will reign!



And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner


“Choice” Quotations


“We must believe in free will,
we have no choice.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
“There is no such thing as chance;
and what seems to us merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
~ Friedrich Schiller
“Since we cannot change reality,
let us change the eyes which see reality.”
~ Nikos Kazantzakis




“Choice” Quotations

“Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust –
we all dance to a mysterious tune,
intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”
~ Albert Einstein

“What really interests me is whether God had any Choice in the creation of the world.”
~ Albert Einstein

“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“Inflamed by greed, incensed by hate, confused by delusion, overcome by them, obsessed by mind, a man chooses for his own affliction, for others’ affliction, for the affliction of both and experiences pain and grief”
~ Buddha

“Life is the sum of all your choices.”
~ Albert Camus

“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it,
that is in itself a choice.”
~ William James

“God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.
Take which you please – you can never have both.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

“I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt.”
~ A Course In Miracles

“Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedom — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
~ Viktor Frankl

“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing.
Therefore choose life.”
~ Deuteronomy 30:19

“Everyone should carefully observe which way his heart draws him, and then choose that way with all his strength. ”
~ Hasidic Saying