Book Seven: Transforming Problems into Happiness

Transforming Problems into Happiness, Lama Zopa Rinpoche

I've read this book before, many years ago when I suddenly became interested in Buddhism. I picked it up again in desperation because we suddenly found ourselves in conflict with one of our neighbors and it turned me into a wildly unhappy person for a few days. I hate conflict, I hate feeling unliked, and I especially hate the kind of person it turns me into--defensive, determined to be right at any cost, angry and vindictive. Blargh.

So, this is a nice little book to put one's mind at ease. Basically, everything exists in your mind. So, if you can turn negative things and experiences into good things just by allowing your brain to believe they are good, you are on the right track. I like it. So, I can look at my neighbors and think, "Thank you for bringing this problem into my life! Now I can learn something from it and that makes me a better person." Or, more specifically according to Buddhism you are creating good karma so that you can ultimately escape samsara and experience enlightenment. I suppose they lose me there a bit. I'm not a Buddhist and don't pretend to be. While I think the basic tenets are lovely and can make you a better person, I don't necessarily buy into the whole enlightenment-karma-samsara dealie. But I guess that's where most religions get you. They reel you in with indisputable platitudes about being good and doing unto others and keeping a clear mind and transforming problems into happiness, and then suddenly you find yourself nodding and agreeing when they say things like "so Jesus is the son of God" or "Joseph Smith is the true prophet since he got those golden plates from the angel Moroni" or "the way to escape past negative karma is by creating good karma" or whatever.

Still, this book at least helped me feel better and escape the terrible thoughts in my head for a few days. Thanks, Buddhism!


Anonymous be11curves said...

Sorry to hear about the neighbor conflict...Ugh. I think I might need to pick up this book, but for different reasons, such as, maybe, a toxic workplace where there is no real future for me, a flat hierarchy, a mass exodus of all the good people as of late (including my boss, whose departure is proving traumatic to me, and like, zero transparency in how things are done at the top, a new trend towards micromanaging people, and no transparency regarding how people get moved around like musical chairs in the organization chart (or simply tossed like chess pawns). It makes me so anxious and ties my stomach into knots just typing it out like that--I just might need a xanax. Or I need to start blogging again in a "safe" space and rant all about it. Or a pick up a book on Buddhism. Or all of the above. Plus get lots of massage, some acupuncture, keep my good friends and family close by for support, eat dark choclate, and have tea (or possibly an alcohol based drink) to calm my nerves. Um, yeah. Coincidentelly, I've been thinking a lot about religion in general in the same months that these things have been eating away at me...not looking FOR a religion, but just thinking a lot about it. So this book might at least help me feel a little bit better even if I'm not anything near being Buddhist. Yeah. I really really need to get my hands on this title to try to reframe things if possible.

April 8, 2012 at 3:09 PM  

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