Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Lowdown on Happiness (review)

Seven (Wisdom Quarterly)

Happiness is easy! It's not the elusive thing we make it out to be. It's opposite is non-happiness, NOT sadness, anger, or anything else. We can have many emotions and yet be happy. Yin and yang swirl around, not as two separate circles, but spinning with each in the other. So whatever is happening in this moment, whatever is appearing as form, CHOOSE to be happy. Laughing or crying, there's a smile behind everything. (Śīla is the source of it even when we're doing things we'll wish we hadn't done.) It's when we get caught up, when we try to "find ourselves" in experiences or things, that we lose sight of the happiness that's right here, right now. Whatever comes our way, whatever life throws at us, can actually be used to grow. Try it, because life is happening anyway. Here are some stories to help.

For Your Health: Can money buy happiness?
(FOX) The first Gallup World Poll has found that while money can increase your satisfaction with life, it really can’t buy happiness. Researchers found that cash was not necessarily correlated with positive feelings and enjoyment: An analysis of findings from a study of 136,000 people in 132 countries also suggests that there is no single prescription for happiness, which depends on many factors, including local culture and expectations.

Would a $1.50 joint bring happiness to California?
(SCRIPPS HOWARD, SunTimes) Legalizing pot may drop the price of a marijuana cigarette to as little as $1.50 in California, but taxing weed may create a whole new black market, according to a new RAND Corp. study. The six-month study by the renowned Santa Monica-based think tank provides fuel for both sides of the debate over whether California should legalize marijuana for recreational use. Legalize and regulate marijuana? - Is medical pot too easy to get?

How are sadness and happiness like diseases? They're infectious, study finds
(LA Times) Is sadness a sickness? It appears to spread like one, a new study has found. Researchers at Harvard University and MIT wanted to see if a mathematical model developed to track and predict the spread of infectious diseases such as SARS and foot-and-mouth disease could also apply to the spread of happiness -- and found that it worked.

The Science of Cougar Sex: Why Older Women Lust
Men who cheat on their spouses have always enjoyed an expedient explanation: Evolution made me do it. Many articles (here is one, and here is another), especially in recent years, have explored the theory that men sleep around because evolution has programmed them to seek fertile (and, conveniently, younger) wombs. (See the top 10 political sex scandals.) But what about women? If it's really true that evolution can cause a man to risk his marriage, what effect does it have on women's sexuality? A new journal article suggests that evolutionary forces also push women to be more sexual, although in some unexpected ways.

Buddhism in Education
( Buddhist meditation is justified in schools by its practical benefits. But there's more to it than that. School-based practices inspired by Buddhism are starting to gain momentum. Last weekend Goldie Hawn was enthusing about the British launch of her meditation in schools programme, while on a slightly lower key note mindfulness teaching has already been introduced in several private institutions – Wellington College and Tonbridge School among them. There are also initiatives to introduce meditation in the state sector, under the guidance of psychologists such as Mark Williams in Oxford.

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