Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ditch the guilt and be happy

Mary Loftus, associate editor of Emory Magazine, describes the top 10 things that religious leaders say about happiness in the Huffington Post:

One of the things that most irritated me about Sunday school -- and there were many, including the fact that I had to wear tights, keep quiet and not ask why God wasn't a girl -- is that we were told, however covertly, that happiness was selfish.

Religion, I came to believe, was all about self-sacrifice. How could we be happy when babies in Angola were starving (or being sent to purgatory by the Pope)? How could we be happy when already we bent so readily toward sin? How could we be happy when we had to constantly be on guard against greed, pride, sloth, lust and gluttony (i.e., cool stuff, bragging, hanging around, casual sex and cookies)?

Come to find out at a recent "Summit on Happiness," hosted by Emory University's Center for the Study of Law and Religion, many of the world's religions have nothing against humans seeking to be happy.

Can I really ditch the guilt and go for the gusto?

According to spiritual leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist traditions, the answer is yes -- with a few conditions.

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, the star of the show, has said that the very purpose of life is to be happy, so long as "one person or group does not seek happiness or glory at the expense of others." He didn't disappoint at the summit, sticking up for happiness as well as world peace at every opportunity, and laughing or chuckling fairly consistently throughout the event.

The Dalai Lama was joined on the panel by Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth and Islamic scholar Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr of George Washington University.

They agreed wholeheartedly that faithfulness and happiness were not mutually exclusive.

Click here to read the top 10 things she learned about spiritual happiness.

The quest for inner peace and happiness
Breathe in, breathe out, be happy

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