How can monks be so happy when they have so little?
It's not that they think life is better than it is. They know they have next to no possessions in the world. And that the world can be a tough place.
But, to Buddhists, suffering is optional.
Buddhists believe suffering comes from looking for satisfaction, like wanting a new possession. Because even when we get the thing we want, we start wanting something else.
And this inability to permanently achieve the type of "feeling good" we want leads to suffering, or feeling unsatisfied.
But, according to monks, this suffering is optional. And the mindset needed to step away from it is actually pretty simple.
The benefits of thinking like a monk:
The first step to reducing suffering from our lives, according to Buddhist monks - is simply accepting where we are, as we are.
Instead of asking yourself where you'd want to be, who you'd want to be with, or what you want in your life, ask yourself:
Why do I like where I already am?
What beauty is around me right now?
What am I learning from this moment?
How can I accept how I feel right now, without changing it?
But this means even in moments of hardship, sadness, or pain, monks challenge themselves to find beauty in their feelings, accept it without changing it, and grow from it.
And, as a result, monks can find a transcendent, enduring type of happiness anywhere, anytime.
Give it a try if:
Monks teach us that by starting to live a more reflective and moderate life we can feel happier, simply by being more content with the way things are. Instead of getting angry when something doesn’t go our way, we can pause and choose a different mindset.
And while we may not reach Nirvana overnight, by simply being aware that we have a choice in every moment, we can start to feel happier.