For many of us, seeking happiness is like seeking buried treasure. We know it’s hiding somewhere – and we search the world over, hoping to find the particular object, knowledge or person that will bring us the joy we desire.

Sometimes we are fortunate, and find exactly what we want. Other times, we keep searching. Yet even in our happiest moments, most of us eventually realize that what makes us happy is not our circumstances, but our way of thinking about life.

In a series of lectures, the Dalai Lama has often addressed the subject of happiness and the individual:

Inner happiness is not determined by material circumstances or sensual gratification. It depends on our mind.
The most vital thing is to recognize how important this kind of happiness really is.

Life is wonderful when we are blessed with good friends, great adventures, and even the occasional learning experiences from which we grow.

However, as best most of us can figure out, real happiness originates from a hopeful, healthy spirit – and not the benefits of worldly influences. Simply – our joy is the product of our way of thinking, and nothing else.

It’s kind of like the old Zen one-liner… the only Zen you find at the top of the mountain is the Zen you bring up there. And in light of the Dalai Lama’s words, Zen for most of us means happiness.