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Sometimes You Just Want To Run and Hide. How To Reconnect To Happiness?

EOY bpf happiness insert copy chair

Even as a BPFer committed to furthering world peace, I’ll be honest: I’m sometimes tempted to turn off the news and go hide in a cave. (Not even meditate. Just hide.) The teetering precipice of nuclear disaster in Fukushima, monks murdering in the name of Buddhism in Burma, Renisha McBride killed in Detroit for seeking neighborly help while Black. It all feels like too much.

It’s even tougher to stay present with social strife amidst a strenuous day-to-day life – when your paycheck isn’t covering all the bills, or you’ve been jobless for a long while; when you’re worried about your kid withstanding bullying at school or violence in your neighborhood; when you’ve been hit by a flu bug or diagnosed with cancer. Rocked in a stormy, endless sea of suffering, we seek just a little relief, a scrap of happiness, a break in the weather. 

What really leads to our happiness, in the midst of personal challenges and a world in peril? Consumer capitalism would have us believe we can buy our way to happiness. Even our beloved Buddhadharma has been “hijacked by the happiness industry,” in the words of Stephen Batchelor. Mindfulness is marketed as a panacea for our troubles.It’s hard not to wonder if our very desire for happiness is manufactured. Can we trust it?

“The desire for true happiness
is nothing to feel ashamed about.”

–Thanissaro Bhikkhu



The Buddha’s teachings show us how to cultivate happiness with our hearts and minds. What we find is that happiness is a community effort; it’s not something we can do alone.


“We need community.”

–Harsha Walia, author of
Undoing Border Imperialism,
on a BPF phone call.


Buddhist Peace Fellowship is building a network of activists, bodhisattvas, and caring warriors who delight in stirring up “beautiful trouble”: crafting ornate protest signs; locking down in joyous blockades; planting guerilla gardens; stepping up as strike leaders. As BPF elder Joanna Macy reminded us this year, supportive community helps you move through despair to re-engage your gratitude and happiness. It’s this happiness – not a passive, solo bliss but an active, connected love – that sustains your work for collective liberation. 

Can you make a donation today to help grow this joyful community? This special voice for dharma and social justice exists because of your heartfelt generosity, and I’m so grateful to be in community with you.

Support a new year of dharma, joy, & justice.

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With love & happiness, 

Dawn Haney

Co-Director, Buddhist Peace Fellowship

P.S. Thanks for all you do to accept the world as it is, and fight like hell to change it!

Donate today – your tax-deductible gift helps promote this precious balance of joyful resistance.

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Comments (4)

  • Susmita

    Ah! That red chair is inviting. I find true happiness in communing with nature where the view is not blocked by narrow domestic walls or walls of organization or inherent duality/divisiveness of all politics. Best of all there is no lid on top, just vast space and peaceful co-existence of all that is. This was my natural state of mind, when I was a child. How do I reconnect with this state? Now that my mind has seen and experienced lot of pain and suffering. How can this self and world be free from fear-based attachments, aversions, doubt and ignorance? Well no easy way. I release some of my angst through my blogs, some through my practice and rest in the vast open space.

  • Katie Loncke

    Hi Susmita! Nature, blogs, practice, and resting in vast open space — loving all of these refuges. :) Thanks for sharing them.

  • Mushim

    Thank you, Dawn. This is beautifully written, and as a longtime member of Buddhist Peace Fellowship, I appreciate very much how you link together Dharma, Joy, and Justice. We need all three of them, plus community in order to sustain our efforts in moving toward Dharmic or Dhammic societies.

  • Dawn Haney

    Hi Susmita & Mushim! Grateful to be in this happy dharma justice community with you both!

    Happiness can feel like a dicey topic in both Buddhist and activist circles, so often focused on suffering! And hard to talk about happiness in a way that doesn’t feel totally simplistic. Glad to have hit the right notes for you in this piece!

    And many thanks go to Katie for being a superb editor :)

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