…how to achieve it without too much prayer (or sex in the storeroom)

What a blessing to read of the Dalai Lama’s discussions on happiness with leading religious figures. He joined UK Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; and George Washington University Professor and Islamic scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and others at the Interfaith Summit on Happiness

Clearly the Dalai Lama has something about him as it seems the other religious leaders were tripping over themselves to praise his approach and attitude to happiness. And you’d think having been so royally stitched up by the Chinese, he’d have a lot to be pissed off about. Apparently not, a good dose of deep meditation, and an orange robe, is pretty much guaranteed to provide lasting happiness, along with a good laugh.

“If we could only learn one thing from you, which is how to laugh the way you do, I think we’d increase the happiness in the world,” said Rabbi Sacks, launching the happiness fest.

His Holiness (The DL), pointed out that the purpose of life is to be happy.

“I see happiness mainly in the sense of deep satisfaction,” he said.

He continued that happiness consists of both physical happiness and experiential happiness of the mind.

He expressed concern that the nature of happiness has changed throughout humanity’s time on earth, with an increasing focus on materialism.

“There is no guarantee about happiness with material,” he said.

The Dalai Lama added that happiness stemming from material goods and money is “fundamentally wrong,” and that real happiness comes “from within”.

The Chief Rabbi agreed and added that consumerism focuses us on what we dont have, instead of allowing them to be grateful for what we do have, producing “the manufacture and distribution of unhappiness.”

“The consumer society is constantly tempting us to spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need, for the sake of a happiness that won’t last,” he said. What became clear is that the religious authorities agreed that the best way to find happiness is through the pursuit of the happiness of others, the collective “simcha” – a joint celebration of happiness – causing the highest levels of happiness.

After a fantastic rabbinical story, which highlighted the need to stop and smell the roses to find happiness, to which the Dalai Lama chuckled, Nasr noted, His Holiness exudes happiness. Then he went on to add something useful to those of us focused on happiness at work.

Professor Nasr said the path to attaining happiness must begin within individuals, adding that life’s main goal is self-discovery.

“Once we know who we are, we are happy,” he said. “But very few people in the world know who they are.”

So happiness is clearly linked to self knowledge, as well as the focus on serving others. Yet at work, many of us lack an understanding of what makes us successful, the challenges of internal politics, the vicissitudes of the “the market” and competitive teamwork, leave us struggling to understand how our personal qualities impact performance.

In a month when The Independent reported that the UK lost £42 billion on a higher staff turnover than our European cousins, we must struggle to understand what causes unhappiness at work.

Dr Stewart Desson, UK Business Psychologist, suggests that one of the major causes of workplace dissatisfaction is being misunderstood at work, “When colleagues misunderstand your motives and drivers, it is easy to build mistrust, confusion and disharmony. One of the easiest ways to therefore increase happiness is to increase personal and team understanding of some of the key qualities that drive us at work”

Clearly Desson has his religion to push, the unique Lumina Spark portrait, but whether it is this tool, or any other tool you like to use to help your people understand each other, it is clear that that is an easy way to increase happiness, and therefore productivity at work.

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