Happiness is all in your mind: Gen Kelsang Nyema at TEDxGreenville 2014

Translator: Adrienne Lin
Reviewer: Hannah Ximenes Alright, my friends. Hello. (Audience) Hello. So I want to start off
with a few questions. And I know a lot of other presenters have already asked you questions, and they’ve been kind of hard questions. But the questions I’m going to ask you are very, very simple. And I promise
you’ll be able to answer these. Alright, are you ready?
For your first one? Okay. Your first questions is — you don’t have to answer out loud: Are you having a good day? Okay, got your answer? Alright. My second question for you is: Why? If you’re having a good day, why are you having a good day? Or if you’re having a bad day, why are you having a bad day? So I have one more question for you. This should be the easiest one of all. My last question is: Tomorrow, would you rather have a good day, or would you rather have a bad day? Do you have your answer for that one? What about the day after tomorrow? What about Sunday? Let’s see. Yeah, that’s right. Tomorrow’s Saturday. Sunday. How about Monday? Would you like to have
a good day or a bad day on Monday? Tuesday? Wednesday? Thursday? Friday? This time next week? A good day or a bad day? So that last question, like I said, is probably the easiest one for us to answer, because we know
the answer to that, don’t we? We want to have a good day, everyday. Did anyone in the room answer, “Yes, I want to have a bad day on Monday”? Of course not. We all want to have a good day everyday. So this is really speaking
to the type of happiness that we all wish for in our heart of hearts. We have a good day when we’re happy, and we want to be happy everyday. There’s never a day when we don’t want to be happy. But whether or not
we have good days or bad days really depends upon how we answered the second question. Do you remember the second question? What was the second question? “Why?” Why am I having a good day? Why am I having a bad day? So one thing that my teacher says — his name is Geshe Kelsang Gyatso — and he says that, “Much of the time our mind is like a balloon in the wind, blown here and there by external circumstances.” Do you know that feeling? He says when things are going well, when they’re going our way, we feel happy. But then if something goes wrong, for example, he says, “If we’re forced to
work with a colleague that we dislike,” but I’m sure none of you
have colleagues you dislike, right? (Laughter) He says if we’re forced to
work with someone we dislike, or if something doesn’t go our way, then our happy feeling disappears. So as long as our answer to the question “why am I having a good day?”,
or “why am I having a bad day?” Because you know,
this is a question people ask us like, maybe when you get home today, someone will go,
“So how was that TED thing?” “Did you have a good day?” And we’ll say, “Yeah, I did.” “There’s this lady,
and she talked to us about how we need to be compassionate
towards former inmates, and there’s this performer who did this
awesome beat-boxing thing with his mouth, you know, this person, and that person.” As long as our reasons for why we had a good day are
a list of external conditions, then we’re not going to have this stable happiness that we all want. Does that make sense to you? Because if that’s what our happiness
depends upon — because we cannot control people and circumstances every single day — then our happiness will
be in the hands of others, won’t it? It’ll be at the whim of our circumstances. So if you really wish to have a good day everyday, we’ve got two things we need to do. So the first thing that we need to do is we need to stop outsourcing our happiness and outsourcing our unhappiness on the people and circumstances. In other words, we need to stop attributing our happiness to what’s going on externally, and we need to stop blaming others, — especially blaming others — for our unhappiness. So for as long as we do that, as long as we’re making it the job of people and circumstances to make us happy, or as long as we’re making it their fault
when we’re unhappy, our happiness will be very unstable, and illusive. Our second job is to actively cultivate a source of peace and a source of happiness coming from inside our own mind. So here’s something I want you to
commit to memory. Are you ready? This is another line from one of my teacher’s books, where he says, “Happiness and unhappiness are states of mind; and therefore their real causes cannot be found outside the mind.” So if we have a peaceful state of mind, we will be happy regardless of people and circumstances. If our mind is unpeaceful or agitated, then even if we have
very good circumstances, we’ll find it impossible to be happy. So, in other words, it’s not what is happening that is making us happy or unhappy; it is how we are responding
to those things that determines whether
we’re happy or unhappy. It is what our state of mind is like that determines
our happiness or unhappiness. So how are we going to do this? So we can all
understand this intellectually. It’s not rocket science, is it? It’s not hard to understand. And maybe, to a certain extent, as I tell you these things, you’re like, “Yeah , I knew that already.” “I knew that already.” But how do we actually do it? How do we actually cultivate this stable peace of mind that we can rely upon, regardless of the external circumstances? So this is really where meditation
comes into play. And I would say I would need
a whole other TED talk — hint, hint — (Laughter) in order to really
do this subject of meditation justice. But for our purposes today, we can say that meditation is a mental action. It’s the mental action of concentrating on a peaceful positive state of mind. If we do that, we concentrate on a peaceful positive state of mind, then we can say we’re meditating, whether that’s like this, right? See, actually, you don’t know
if I’m meditating or not, because I could be thinking
about my grocery list. (Laughter) It’s only meditation if I’m actually focusing
on a positive peaceful state of mind. But the trick is, I can do it like this. This is called formal meditation. But we can also learn to do this
all the time in our daily life. See, here’s a perfect opportunity. (Laughter) We concentrate on a mind of patience. We’re not disturbed, not unhappy. So why don’t we try it now? Are you up for it? Just a short meditation. According to the clock,
I’ve got three minutes left, so this is going to be a very brief one. But let’s actually try it, let’s try to tap into our own potential for a peaceful positive state of mind. So now, I’ll ask you
to just sit comfortably, and place your feet flat on the floor, and your hands within your lap. And then you can lightly close your eyes and become aware of
the sensation of your breath, at the tip of your nose. And as you breathe out, you can imagine you’re breathing out any agitation, any mental busyness, any frustration or unhappiness in your life. Breathing it all out, like dark smoke. And as you breathe in, you can imagine and believe that you’re breathing in
a clear, bright light, which is a very nature of inner peace. And you can imagine that
this clear, bright light fills your entire body and mind. And for a few seconds, simply enjoy this inner peace coming from within. And now, as we finish, just be determined to
bring this inner peace with you into the rest of your day to benefit yourself and others. So now, we rise from meditation. Thank you very much. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Happiness is all in your mind: Gen Kelsang Nyema at TEDxGreenville 2014

  • But the Angels like to look into the little things that you have things like your Faith. And if the angels are looking into this then we are being tested. Xo

  • This child-level lecture is so cringe-worthy and banal, I couldn't stand longer than six minutes of hoping to hear something original. My problem is that I am a happy person. I'm happy for no reason in particular—and I'm content this should be the case. If this woman's talk and demeanour helps you to feel happy then good luck with that. I'm happy for you.

  • I just thought to share what I have learned on my journey: I just thought it fit this topic.

    "Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, 'Here I am.'" [Isaiah 52:6 NASB]

    How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news,

    Who announces peace

    And brings good news of happiness,

    Who announces salvation, [And] says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" [Isaiah 52:7 NASB]

    My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness. So I say, "My strength has perished, And [so has] my hope from the LORD." [Lamentations 3:17-18 NASB]

    Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers And is bowed down within me.

    This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. [Lamentations 3:19-21 NASB]

    Because of the LORD's great love

    we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

    They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

    I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;

    therefore I will wait for him." [Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV]

    When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands.

    But my love will never be taken away from him,

    as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.' " [2 Samuel 7:12-16 NIV]

    For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all [the spoils,] was first of all, by the translation [of his name,] king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually. [Hebrews 7:1-3 NASB]

    This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. [Lamentations 3:19-21 NASB]

    This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a [hope] both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. [Hebrews 6:19-20 NASB]

    "Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, 'Here I am.'" [Isaiah 52:6 NASB]


    But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting [Him] to grief; If He would render Himself [as] a guilt offering, He will see [His] offspring, He will prolong [His] days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see [it and] be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. [Isaiah 53:10-11 NASB]

    Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, [even] Jesus our Lord, [Hebrews 13:20 NASB]

    Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. [Romans 5:1-2 NASB]

    In rendering His Son a guilt offering on His Mercy Seat: God restores and is restoring us to peace & happiness: what was lost by our sin.

    He is our meditation: we recall & turn our mind toward Him and have hope, peace & happiness.

  • Yes, silence and calmness is great. But, on the same end of those things is falling asleep. My answer was my day is good because that's how I've decided to frame it. Happiness or inner peace are a moment of meditation or positive thinking away but JOY is different.

  • After reading about Taoism and the duality between sports and getting into the zone as what Taoism explains, somewhat, as the flow. This talk helped me realize that focusing and getting into the zone while meditating is the true state of meditation. Your mind is clear, you are listening to sounds and thoughts but letting go as they come. I know this video really didn’t cover much on meditation, but everything that was talked about just made a bunch of gears click into place. Thank you.

  • This is true to an extent. Tell the abused and starving it is in there mind. These people are removed from the secular world. All childless and unmarried who have had years of stable isolated study.

  • Diss liking this is pretty sad I believe.. On the other hand, how are people in bad and dangerous and little way's out places like ghetto's going to find positivity and happiness..Guess we'll all have to work together so eiter way it's a good way to start:)

  • If we are happy and some one. Close of us dies then we will lose our happiness .Plz Explain bcoz here death is external circumstances

  • i do not believe you…..your acting as if this is a fad………. know you feel it, believe it, BUT YOU WERE not exposd to the real issues beind thi……………it goes back yrssssssssssssss ago…………….i DO NOT LIKE WHEN AMERICANS TAKE ON THESE FORMS OF SPORT FOR PROFIT

  • The simple answer: "Beingness" is all you ever had, and you will ever have. Become disinterested in what's going on in your mind, and just be. This effortless beingness is one's true nature, it is the source of infinite bliss and happiness.

  • Also nothing like a white old woman with previllage telling everyone else how to be happy lol FU


  • Happiness is what your heart dictates in your mind, Peace of mind comes when your heart is whole, Youth is a state of mind not a time of life 🙂

  • Mind is the information that we gathered over a period of time…we recycle.the information stored in mind . so-called thoughts…

  • Wait a minute.
    We cannot possibly be happy or unhappy regardless what others say/think/behave.
    We’re social animals in our DNA.
    Humans exist as a group of interacting individuals.
    We survived so far cooperating and blending.
    Teaching your mind to be always peaceful whatever happens, it would be like pulling the plug.
    People with Alzheimer’s do that.
    Autism forces people into that.
    I don’t know…she’s peaceful, adorable and all but the message here is quite weird.

  • It's absolutely wrong. It's monkey mind.. the more u try to control the more it wanders… Don't try to dictate your mind… Just clear the clouds… Sunshine will fall upon you. An analogy… Suppose you want flowers… So u don't think about flowers , u just take care of seed, manure, water and sun light.. flower is the consequence. Peace ! Love from India..

  • This Ted Talk is så calm, clear, profond and felt … it is making me fall awake as Jon Kabat-Zinn puts it – thanks ever so much

  • Acılarımı geride bırakıp herşeyden uzak bir manastıra çekilip rahibe olarak yaşasaydım ben de mutlu olurdum

  • Such ideas appeal to the old, the weak – all they want is peace & quiet
    Terrible advice for the young, the dreamer – there is value in pain & suffering

  • listening to this is such a good way to start the day. it is pretty amazing she is calm enough to sit while giving her ted talk. Love it.

  • Happiness and unhappiness are the states of mind and therefore, their real causes can not be found outside the mind.

    So, if we have a peaceful state of mind, we will be happy regardless of people and circumstances.

    If our mind is unpeaceful or agitated then even we have very good circumstances, we will find it impossible to be happy.

  • SHE IS AMAZING!! I felt that bright ray of light in my whole body right before she said i will 🙂 i started cracking up because i just realized i feel so dark inside

  • If you are meditating to strive for some goal, to attain something, to "better yourself", you are not meditating. Meditation, like dance or music, is done for its own sake. What Nyema says is certainly helpful but just know that it is not meditation. Attempting to focus or converge your thoughts on one particular thing is just thinking. Meditation, on the other hand, is being an observer of your own thoughts and feelings. Just to watch and listen to what is going on around you, to let your mind ripple out into silence. Calmness is a result of experiencing reality without the ego, without thought.

  • Not really, Happiness is not as simple as that shaved yoga lady. it depends on a lot of things, quality of your friendships, quality of your connection with your community, quality of connections to family, your ability to progress in your dreams and ambitions, your physical health the list goes on all of which are external etc. You can sit in a corner for 70 years meditating, I guarantee your mind will turn on itself without the above. Peace.

  • I start to practice listening el and el is really good choice for beginners. She speaks slowly and the content of this video is also meaningful

  • I am finding some beautiful thoughts out there in the comment section… brilliant thoughts over life…I hope we can together help those people who are suffering ❤️

  • i have practised this example to calm my mind and as it worked i thought "oh god my head is empty". so its really fantastic being free of tormenting thoughts…

  • I have examined all the meditation techniques only one of them in the real sense of the application of the application is very enjoyable automatically mind your mind as time goes on and more quiet mind points, and the mind itself, adding this silence and intelligence is the name of this technique transcendental meditation

  • Although this speaker has the best intentions, her message is overly simplistic and she entirely misses a basic tenet of Buddhism, which is that: LIFE IS SUFFERING. Instead of trying to be "happy" all the time, we should instead be embracing the whole RANGE of human emotion. LOVE is the actualization of aliveness in that it involves the whole spectrum of human emotion. This includes happiness, joy and gratification, but it also includes sadness, loss, fear and anger. Such is the infinitude of LOVE. LOVE encompasses the entire RANGE of human emotion. "Happy" is merely one aspect of aliveness. We should instead strive to understand what LOVE truly is.

  • Every time I watch Buddhist monks and nuns talk I can't avoid thinking they are like the water and us, ordinary citizens living an ordinary western-like lifestyle, are like the oil. We are so different in the way we live our daily lives that it is impossible to image each group living the way the other group do. I could not imagine a well known and ambitious businessman such as, for example Elon Musk, living and acting in his everyday life in an almost slow-motion like this nun does. I could neither imagine a Buddhist monk doing business all day and leading a team of executives in Wall Street… For us living a conventional western style life a paused, slow, calm way of being everyday is practically impossible to follow all day long. Yes, we can benefit from meditating for moments, perhaps hours in a day, but our daily lives demand a faster paced, faster motion way of being. We, the oil ones, try to learn from the water ones. We dream of being like them and living in peace, silence and calm. And so we go on trying meditation and perhaps adopting certain habits of them, and so we apparently manage to blend some of that water in our oil. But sooner or later we find ourselves back in our everyday reality and living our lives the way our material world demands… Water and oil separate and things go back to normal without us ever adopting 100% so much peace, paused, calm and serenity… So you could not expect to ever be water and live like water unless you abandon everything and decide to be 100% water.

  • Unhappiness, pain and other discomforrs are ones off many natural states of mind and body that gived us for reasons.

    I'd rather feel everything, accept it with courage like human than trying to hack my mind (like common drug addict, but using illusions instead) just so my meat body and animal brain feels "gooody and happy".

    Wiping out colors from palette saying that happiness is good because I WANT is so greedy.

    I admit, as a human you need to realize consept she saying. But feel happy every day… No, thank you

  • I find it hard to be happy living without my ex who left me. I miss her so much. I'm much calmer than I was but I just miss her.

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