Life Lessons

This is an amazing award winning documentary called ‘Children Full of Life’, first posted at TokyoMango, about a Japanese school teacher and his unorthodox methods of teaching compassion and encouraging happiness by getting the students to write personal journal entries and read them out to the class. The other children then empathise and share their own related stories. In the first few letters shared, the topic of death is brought up, with most of the kids tearing up throughout the session. Another situation sees the class disrupted by bullies, and it is left to their conscience to confess or not. I was moved to tears by each of the 5-part segments.

Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * Part 5

What they learn are the most important lessons anyone can be taught: compassion for the pain of others, courage to speak up when they are afraid to and how to be happy despite disappointments and bad times. Everybody has pain, and sometimes it is easy to forget it, but we all suffer deep down inside. As the Dalai Lama says in ‘The Art of Happiness’ suffering is the one thing that unites us all. We are all human and we all have felt pain, and through this there is always a way to relate to one another.

I know I can sometimes sound like a hippie with all of this free love shit, but it is true. You take what you can out of life and the majority of us spend it in pain because we are too afraid to break ourselves free of the chains. You can be happy at any time if you choose to, you can stop being hurt if you let yourself. You can choose whether to hurt someone or make them feel better. I know with myself, sometimes I get into situations where nothing is going my way and I get really mad, I say sulky things to people I care about and I regret it. It’s hard to always stay positive and be good to others, but I’m trying.

The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler has been a great help and I recommend it to anyone. If you feel like you are suffering, then read it. Nobody ever really teaches us how to be happy anymore, they teach us how to be rich or successful, how to judge and to consume. What we really need is a lesson in empathy and the joy of life. That Japanese classroom is a beacon of hope.

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2 Responses to “Life Lessons”

  1. Marty Says:

    I’ve read the Essence of Happiness, which is an abridged form. It’s hard to remember to value others all the time like the book says, that if we remember to feel compassion for total strangers then we won’t feel unhappy. It’s a lot of mental discipline; so far I haven’t really given it a fair attempt yet. Ithink my brain is a tad lazy, and it falls into the same old patterns.

  2. LuLi Says:

    Its true sometimes there’s someone who pushes in front of ou in line or sits beside you on the train and it can be difficult not to become annoyed. You could definitely do it, you just have to try to be consistent and remember that it takes time and effort. In the end though, I think there are results that are worth it.

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