Zen - The Art of HappinessI’ve recently come across a book that I’d like to recommend.  It’s called “Zen: The Art of Happiness”, by Chris Prentiss (2006), and it offers readers a way to ‘reframe’ the challenging, even painful, hurdles that we often face during our lifetime, such as loss, anxiety, illness, loneliness, and fears of all kinds so that we can consider them as vehicles that aid in ‘growing’ us in ways that wouldn’t be possible if the particular circumstances were different, or as we might prefer, such as not painful at all, only wonderful.

It’s a small, yet powerful, book, but be sure, it doesn’t offer the reader a ‘rose coloured’ or “Pollyanna” perspective.  Rather, it offers one that can help to make a wider sense of what might be happening in our life at any given time, and from an angle that offers one power in the acceptance of the condition or circumstance, as opposed to fighting it.  However, it’s important to note that acceptance doesn’t mean sinking into a powerless reality; it just means accepting conditions as the way they are, and then doing what you can to face this reality in a way that challenges you to push forward (and not avoid) through and find the healthiest – and useful – ways in which to view this ‘problem’.  Sometimes ‘pushing forward’ means doing something specific, and at other times, it simply means to face the feelings rather than shrinking away from them.

Twelve Step Programs for addicts use a prayer at their meetings that reflects the philosophy that underscores this book, I believe:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

the courage to change the things I can;

and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Regardless of whether or not you’re a believer of something greater than yourself, an atheist, or agnostic, this ‘recipe’ is a useful way to consider the challenges we all face in our lives as human beings.  The book will offer you specific ways in which to do this.  Enjoy!