Zen and the Art of Happiness

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Zen and the Art of Happiness

 By Chris Prentiss

As your believe, so it is for you.

Max owned a thriving sandwich shop. There was almost always people waiting in line to eat at his little shop. He gave away free pickles, free potato chips, sometimes a free soft drink, and his sandwiches were famous for being overstuffed.

One day his son, who lived in a distant city, came to visit. They had a good visit, but as the son was leaving, he told his father, “Since I’ve been here, I’ve been observing how you run the sandwich shop, and I have to tell you for your own good that you’re making a big mistake giving away all the extras.

The country’s economy is in bad shape. People are out of work, and they have less money to spend. If you don’t cut back on the free items and on your portion sizes, you’ll be in a bad way before long too. His father was amazed, thanked his son and told him he would consider his advice.

After his son left, Max followed his son’s advice. He stopped giving away free items and he cut back on the generous portions of food in his sandwiches. Before long, after many of his disappointed customers had stopped coming, he wrote to his son: ” You were right! The country’s economy is in bad shape, and I’m experiencing the results of it right here in my sandwich shop!”

The poor economy that the man’s son saw all around him were real. Despite the poor economy, though, the father had been running a successful sandwich shop. He didn’t realize that times were hard, that many people were out of work, and that money was scarce. He was treating everyone with great generosity and he was reaping the rewards that such actions always bring : a positive generous outpouring of good things. But after his son told him about the “Bad shape” the country was in, he began to act as if it were so, bringing about the only possible result – a negative, fearful, ungenerous experience of life, an experience that he believed was “out there.”

The books tells us about learning to think and feel positiviely, learning how to adapt to life’s inevitable changes. The theory is there, but it is not easy to put into practise. I will say that sometimes the happiest thing in life is to be able to have a peace of mind and be content.

He who has once known the contentment that comes simply through being content will never again be otherwise than contented. – Tao Te Ching

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