Ensure Happiness

Posted on July 16th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

In our last chapter, we examined the ways in which awareness is the cornerstone of helping us change our behavior. In this chapter, we’re going to look at the ways in which awareness is the cornerstone of who we are.

You may wonder, “But Dr. Puff, how could awareness be the cornerstone of who we are? After all, we have our families, we have our experiences, we have our schoolings, we have our memories…don’t all of these things together create, make, and define us as who we are?” All of these things definitely play a role in who we think we are right now, but the key phrase to remember is “who we think we are.” The truth is that who we think we are is in constant flux, changing all the time.

For a moment, let’s close … Read More »

Earnestness – The Key to Living a Happy Life

Posted on July 16th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

Is there a specific ingredient that one must have in order to be happy? Is there something that, if we possess it, will cause us to be happy? If this is true, are there only certain people that can be happy? In other words, is happiness limited to only a select few? Let’s explore these questions.

The great news is that I believe that any one of us can be happy, no matter our circumstances. It really doesn’t matter what we start out with in this world as long as we end up living a happy and joyful life. However, there is one thing that we need in order to achieve this, a principle that works across the board in life in general and with happiness especially. What is this principle? This principle … Read More »

Death in Yellowstone: Adjusting to the Impermanence of Life

Posted on July 16th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

When I was vacationing in Yellowstone, it was reported in the news that there had been a bear attack on a married couple. While hiking, the man and woman unwittingly got in between a mother bear and her cub. They were both attacked; the husband was killed and his wife barely survived with multiple injuries. This was the first time something of this nature had happened in over 25 years. Additionally, while I was there, I visited many geysers and hot springs and I noticed that there were numerous signs posted warning people to be careful. The signs stated that if you strayed from the path, you risked falling into one and dying. These signs had been paid for by a foundation set up by the family of a 9-year-old boy who had strayed … Read More »

Learning How to Live Life to the Fullest: Happiness and Chocolate… Are They Similar?

Posted on July 16th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

I don’t know about you, but I love chocolate! Although I try to eat a proper diet most of the time, I have definitely cultivated a taste for the sweet stuff. Thankfully, I have found a “healthier” version of chocolate that I really enjoy. I limit how often I treat myself, and I try to limit myself to this particular “healthier” kind of chocolate. However, in the past, I was definitely much more indulgent. I recall many years ago when I was shopping at Costco, I found the most delicious, moist chocolate cake. And it was gigantic! The first bite was so exquisite, I couldn’t help taking another, and another, and yet another. But, after a few bites, it wasn’t quite as good. Don’t get me wrong, the cake was excellent, … Read More »

Winning the Bronze Medal in Life: What My Kindergartener Can Teach Us

Posted on July 16th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

Many of us put a lot of pressure upon ourselves to achieve. When we don’t live up to our expectations, we are often very hard on ourselves. Furthermore, we have an incredible tendency to compare ourselves to other people. If we don’t live up to these imaginary lines of success that we have created in our heads, then we suffer. I want to offer an alternative to this suffering, a lesson we can all learn, courtesy of my six-year-old daughter.

Last week at school, an awards ceremony was held to recognize reading achievement. Usually, the younger children all receive awards while the older children compete against one another for gold, silver, and bronze medals. Our children had attended this school for quite some time, and my son had won a gold medal every year. This … Read More »

Agathism – The Best Way to Live Our Lives

Posted on July 16th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

About three years ago, I was driving a Toyota Forerunner that had been in my possession for about 14 ½ years. It had 274,000 miles on the odometer and it was still running, although of course, not perfectly. I finally decided that I needed a new car, and since I have a tendency to keep the vehicles that I buy for so long, I was determined to get exactly what I wanted. A new hybrid that I had been reading about for quite some time piqued my interest, and so I decided that this was what I would purchase. Unfortunately, my plans were dashed because the particular hybrid I wanted wasn’t yet available in the market. I ultimately decided to lease a car, since the hybrid wasn’t going to be offered for purchase for another couple of years, and I … Read More »

Why Addictions Are So Powerful and How to Overcome Them

Posted on July 16th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

We are going to look at the nature of addictions: why they are so powerful, why we turn toward them, and how we can turn away from them, as we must, because of the negative consequences they ultimately deal out.

Addictions come in all shapes and forms. We can all think of stories about people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. These types of abuses are very common throughout the world. One of my uncles, with whom I grew up and was very fond, struggled with alcohol. He was a very giving, loving person, but the years and years of drinking alcohol truly destroyed his life. He was a very handsome, fun person to be around, and he used to train animals for Hollywood. One summer when I was a boy, he drove all the … Read More »

Mental Stillness and Being Present: Key Ingredients of Happiness

Posted on July 16th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

If you were to ask me, “What is the key, essential component of happiness?” or, “What is a fundamental element of happiness? my answer would be simultaneously simple , yet very complicated. Here, I’d like to explore the fundamental element of happiness. When we “get it,” when we understand it, when we live by it, we will be happy. What is it? What is the fundamental key to happiness? Though it may seem very easy, finding the key to happiness can be one of life’s most difficult and elusive tasks; yet it is possible. It is absolutely possible.

First, let’s explore what causes suffering. Why do we suffer? Some time ago, there was a woman with whom I worked who really struggled with life, although she was a wonderful person. One of … Read More »

How Our Enemies Can Be Our Teachers: Learning from Those We Least Thought Would Teach Us in Life

Posted on July 16th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

When I was young, I was very impatient with other drivers. I thought they were rude, disrespectful, and posed a challenge for me. I was working on myself as a person, and I didn’t like the frequent negative experiences I had with other people. One Christmas while I was in graduate school, something happened to me that told me that I needed to change. I was at the mall buying some gifts for family and friends. In the parking lot, a car pulled out right in front of me and I had to slam on my brakes in order not to hit it. The car’s driver had to stop immediately after pulling out in front of me because of the heavy traffic, and so I got out of my car to talk to him about … Read More »

Waking Up at Princeton: It’s not always the Degree You Get That Makes You Smart

Posted on July 16th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

Many years ago, when I was working toward my first Master’s Degree at Princeton, I had an experience that really changed my life. This experience positioned me on a new path, and provided me with a new direction regarding how to live my life. I had accomplished many things at Princeton: I was graduating with honors, I had won many awards for my research work, and I had been accepted into one of the top Ph.D. clinical psychology programs in the United States. All seemed to be going well!

On a beautiful spring day, one of my last at Princeton, I decided to go to a park and just hang out for a few hours. I had not done this at all during the entire time I had attended Princeton. I had been … Read More »