This Monk Had It All Figured Out. His Shocking Advice Changed My Life Forever.
“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.” -Aeschylus.
The Monk’s Wisdom: A Journey to Finding Happiness and Purpose
During College, I hurried along the chaotic New York City streets, frustrated that life was not going as expected. I had recently finished up at the university, brimming with ambition. Still, I struggled to find a purposeful job that could pay me what I needed to support my widowed mom.
Ducking into a park seeking calm, I noticed a serene monk meditating under a tree. I had seen him there before, and his face always looked happy, content, and at peace. He just had an inner glow. “Wise sir, what is your secret to happiness in such tumultuous times?” I asked.
Discovering the Power of Choice in Happiness
The monk slowly opened his eyes, his gaze reflecting decades of searching. “Happiness is a choice, though it requires effort,” he began. I smiled as I immediately recognized those words: “Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.” as the ancient wisdom of Aeschylus.
I wished I could memorize quotes and have them at hand to help strangers passing by when they stopped to ask a question.
Lessons from the Dalai Lama and Aeschylus on Inner Joy
He shared how he, too, once angrily demanded the world to conform to his desires. In time, he discovered lasting joy comes from within. “As the Dalai Lama teaches, sensory pleasures quickly fade. But the happiness from compassion, self-mastery, and insight can endure.” The monk continued.
Over the course of a half-hour, the monk described integrating concepts from various philosophies into his daily life. He practiced mindful meditation to manage anxieties and nurture presence, a technique resonating with the teachings of modern psychologists like Martin Seligman and Positive Psychology.
The Role of Mindfulness and Stoicism in Personal Growth
The monk continued to document his own learnings. From Stoicism, he learned to focus only on what he could control, reflecting on the enduring words of Marcus Aurelius and Seneca about inner peace amidst external chaos.
Viktor Frankl’s Influence on Finding Meaning in Adversity
He took inspiration from Viktor Frankl‘s experience surviving Nazi death camps with moral courage and finding meaning amidst utter despair. “As Frankl wrote, ‘Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.'”
Practical Advice for Living with Purpose and Fulfillment
WOW, I thought; listening to the monk, I realized my life was much easier than many who had come before me. I didn’t have to fight in the civil war for my freedom; I did not have to hide while people of my religion were persecuted.
Aligning Actions with Values for Authentic Happiness
The monk offered practical advice for living with purpose. “Align actions to values, not rewards,” he urged. “Discover your unique talents then nourish them through engaging work and service to benefit others.” With practice, fulfillment would organically arise.
The Journey of Volunteering and Mentorship
As I strolled home, I felt that my spirit had been lifted up by the monk’s wisdom transcending time and traditions. I began volunteering to guide disadvantaged youths to develop their strengths and find fulfillment by mentoring them.
The Enduring Wisdom of The Monk: Reflecting on Life’s Lessons
Whenever challenges arose, I reflected on the monk’s advice to choose empowering perspectives, reminiscent of the teachings in the book “The Art of Happiness.”
The Wisdom of the Tree of Knowledge
Years later, whenever I lost my way, I sat under a tree just as I did that day with the monk, smiling serenely amidst whatever chaos I felt around me.
Thirty-Minutes Made a Lifetime Impact
I could feel the monk’s timeless presence affirmed that while happiness takes effort, as echoed through the centuries from Aeschylus to the present, we always have the power to choose growth, meaning, and purpose.
In my life, I have found all three. It has not come without trials and tribulations, sadness, and grief, but my choice has always been to shake it off, smile, choose happiness, and move on.
My Hope For You
Is that you, too, choose happiness!
So, Do you?