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Lions Roar : January 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2007 80 When we separate truth from myth, what do we find? We find that Grandma was right about some things. For exam- ple, when Grandma said friendships and a good marriage are keys to happiness, she was right. Probably the single best predictor of a person’s happiness is the quality and extent of their social relation- ships. People with solid friendships, and people with healthy romantic relation- ships, are usually quite happy, regard- less of almost anything else that happens in their lives. Social relationships are a better predictor of happiness than your physical health. If you had to choose between being paralyzed from the waist down and having no friends whatsoever, you would probably be better off being paraplegic than friendless. Why does caring for others make us so happy? Altruism is a social act, an interpersonal act. It makes people feel good about their place in the world, good about others, and it makes others esteem them. It has everything we want as social animals. It isn’t surprising, then, that when people give of themselves to others, and are rec- ognized for it, they experience lots of hap- piness and an increase in self-esteem. Interestingly, though, we’ve just done a study that shows that when people are offered the opportunity to do something selfish or something altruistic, they take the selfish option by and large. Culture has told them this is what they should do to be happy, but if you force them to take the altruistic option, they’re much happi- er. It’s a case of people not really knowing what will make them happy, not knowing what’s good for them. Altruism is a thing you might resist kicking and screaming— “I want to keep my money; I don’t want to give it away”—but if you give it away, it will probably make you happier than most of the things you could spend it on. Buddhists hold that the first truth of life is suffering, and that the attempt to deny this itself makes us unhappy. Do you think the way to happiness is to accept the pervasive nature of suffering? Tibet House U.S . 20th Anniversary In Celebration of our 20th Anniversary 2007 begins with an Extra Special Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall Monday, February 26, 2007 Artistic Direction by Tibet House Vice President Philip Glass Please visit our Gallery, Gift shop & Reading Library Monday to Friday 10AM-5pm – 22 West 15th Street, NYC 212.807 .0563 – www.tibethouse.org Sterling Silver, $79 14k Gold , $1699 Metta Bracelet METTA PRAYER “May all beings be peaceful. May all beings be happy. May all beings be safe. May all beings awaken to the light of their true nature. May all beings be free.” 800.794.9862 www.dharmacrafts.com Introducing the Metta Cuff Sterling Silver, $79 14k Gold, $2179 The Endless Knot adorns the top of this striking cuff. The Metta Prayer is discreetly beneath. 6 3/4" dia. 3/8" w The never-ending Metta Prayer entwines this finely engraved möbius bracelet. 8 3/4" around fits men ss_metta_cf_brac_f06 1 10/3/06 4:41:25 PM