Zen and the Art of Happiness

Lately I have noticed that the books I read have a common thread that runs through them all.  That thread is an acknowledgement of the infinite power and nature of the Universe.  Robert Ringer and Napoleon Hill have described it as the “cosmic catalyst” or “infinite intelligence,” and both described how it can be harnessed for great benefit, particularly material success in life. 

The thread also shoots through other books and other topics.  Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke wrote a whole book on the mystical experience, i.e. the moment of spiritual realization when mortal man can catch a glimpse of the infinite, his own immortal nature and the interconnectedness of all things.  Alan Vaughan and Susan M. Watkins wrote books on synchronicity, which seem to support this interconnectedness, manifested through amazing coincidences in the lives of ordinary people. 

I may be wrong, but I see a Zen connection in all of this.  Zen is a way of thought and meditation that focuses on the universe, the laws of nature and man’s relationship to them.   It seeks to know the essence of man’s nature and his universe and to live in harmony with both.  It is not a religion but it is a philosophy.  So I ordered my first book on Zen, called Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss.  I found it enjoyable and wise.  Once again, I saw the thread of this common theme running through it. 

Some of the book’s sections bear such compelling titles as What’s True in the Universe, a Change in Outlook, Freedom from the Tyranny of Events, and Healing Your Past.  Prentiss even discusses one of my favorite topics, amazing coincidences, calling them the Language of the Universe.  Prentiss says that such events have led him to the conclusion that the Universe is both alive and aware and that it communicates with us continuously, though some communications are more obvious than others.  This thought provided me with insight into the term “conscious of consciousness.”  Let me explain.

A few posts back I wrote about the mystical experience of Harold W. Percival, who described his M.E. as  being “conscious of Consciousness.”  He wrote “I was conscious of Consciousness as the Ultimate and Absolute Reality….It would be futile to attempt description of the sublime grandeur and power and order and relation in poise of what I was then consicous.  Twice during the next fourteen years, for a long time on each occasion, I was conscious of Consciousness.” 

Frankly, I didn’t know what Percival meant at the time, but now I think I do.  He became aware of the great Conscious Mind that permeates the Universe and all things within it.  This ties in nicely with Prentiss’s observation that the Universe is both alive and aware.  Whether you want to call this universal mind God or something else, it doesn’t really matter.  Naming things usually only serves to limit them. 

In his book, Chris Prentiss discussed an ancient Chinese sage known as Lao Tzu, who lived 2500 years ago.  Lao Tzu wrote a book of 81 verses that became known as the Tao Te Ching.  Tzu’s writings also seek to understand and live in harmony with the natural order.  The Tao Te Ching is the most widely translated Chinese work of all time.   Okay, that’s interesting, but not enough to get me to buy a book on it.  Unless, that is, I happened to come upon one while browsing the book section at Costco while my wife shopped.  I found one by Dr. Wayne Dyer on the subject of the Tao Te Ching yesterday and, interpreting it as a message from the Universe, bought it. 

The thread continues.  I am on the path.


6 responses to “Zen and the Art of Happiness

  1. Hi sir, Happiness is a hot topic now; pls get involved with Garunar if you wish as you are welcome to our new community.
    Jane , PR

  2. I’ve noticed this too. I wish that more religions focused on this part of our existence in the universe – that we are all connected. The good and bad in us is all connected. Too many religions try to divide us up.

    Have you read anything by Deepak Chopra? It’s interesting because he’s a scientist as well as a spiritual leader. So he sees how we are connected not only on the spiritual level, but the scientific level too. Interesting stuff.

    Thanks for the post. I enjoyed it!

  3. Tammy, I’ve read 2 or 3 books by Deepak Chopra, including Ageless Body Timeless Mind. I like how he describes existence as a field of molecules, seemingly solid but very porous.

  4. Congratulation!!! You are on the path…
    Have a nice Trip!!

  5. Pingback: The Art Of Office Zen » Glenna Mendez

  6. brah, all I can say, is WALK that Zen book! has changed me, or my perception shall we say…. 🙂 but the amazing understanding of things that comes with that tiny book seemed to open up the entire universe!

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