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By Gabrielle Reilly 

Happiness. Ever wondered why some people are successful in life and are others are not so successful?  What is the definition of success and happiness anyway?  What is considered successful here is entirely different to what is successful to a Buddhist Monk for example.  Why do some people appear to be successful but find they still strive for more?  Nothing is ever enough?  Why can they not be content with what they have?  Some believe that everything that would make them happy is just out of reach. the next dress, shoes, car etc.  It is like watching a dog chase its tail.  Then there are other people who have nothing, but are intrinsically happy.  There are many great teachings throughout the different religions.  You can achieve much personal growth no matter what your faith if you explore and adopt life lessons that can improve your life and the life of those around you. 


"When that mind is cultivated beyond humanism and constantly dwells in kindness and compassion, consideration to others, providing services to relieve others of their suffering, that mind has realized its "divine nature".

From the Buddhist point of view, there is no necessity for some external divine inspiration to influence and ennoble the mind. This is something a person has to do by itself. One has to ennoble their mind by eliminating negative characteristics such as ignorance, hatred, jealousy, and selfishness, while cultivating positive virtues such as friendliness, love and compassion. Through cultivating our virtues, we can transcend our divine nature and achieve one more level, namely, the fourth and most important nature, the "Enlightened Nature", which is the state of self-awakening and realization into the nature of life as it really is."


As our society has become so fast paced we allocate little time to helping others.  Instead we seem to dwell on our own problems in life when we do have a free moment.  This is the very root of the problem.  Once your basic needs are met love and compassion are where true and lasting contentment can be found.  When you are doing for others, provided you have taken care of you and your own first, you get a double positive; your problems seem like nothing and you feel a sense of satisfaction knowing you are a contributing member of society.   Self esteem, happiness and contentment bloom. 


Do not however mistake doing something for ego, with giving. if an act is done for ego you will be expecting something in return and if that "something" does not occur, you may become depressed or disappointed instead.  Find compassion in your heart, expect nothing in return and you will receive riches of the heart.


Think of life as a lump of wet clay ready to be shaped into form.  Consider yourself a "life sculptor" if you like.  As an artist converts the lump of clay into a piece of art by using an image in his/her head so you can do with shaping and developing your life. 


If you do not constantly challenge yourself and have failures and idea's that did not work out as you planned, you could never create a masterpiece.  If you did not start each chapter of your life with a fresh piece of clay then you would be bound and restricted by the form of the clay you were working on last.  Instead you can use the large variety of skills that you developed working on the past lumps of clay and excel with unlimited potential on a clean slate. 


When Arnold Schwarzenegger first came to America many told him he would never make it in the movie industry because of his accent.  With a vision of how he would shape his life he strode forward with force and the rest is history.


Intelligence, emotional intelligence, self development, enthusiasm and curiosity blended with kindness and a compassionate heart everyday can bring a tapestry of richness in your life. Be strong and unwavering in your values and integrity. 


Learn from past mistakes then put them behind you, ignore friends who laugh at you, believe in your dream and move forward with a burning in your belly. 




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