“Altered Traits”: the happiest point in your life?


“The Dalai Lama’s emotional life seems to include a remarkably dynamic range of strong and colorful emotions, from intense sadness to powerful joy.


His rapid, seamless transitions from one to another are particularly unique—this swift shifting betokens a lack of stickiness.



Stickiness seems to reflect the dynamics of the emotional circuitry of the brain, including the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens.


These regions very likely underlie what traditional texts see as the root causes of suffering—attachment and aversion—where the mind becomes fixated on wanting something that seems rewarding or on getting rid of something unpleasant.


The stickiness spectrum runs from being utterly stuck, unable to free ourselves from distressing emotions or addictive wants, to the Dalai Lama’s instant freedom from any given affect.



One trait that emerges from living without getting stuck seems to be an ongoing positivity, even joy.


When the Dalai Lama once was asked what had been the happiest point in his life, he answered, “I think right now.

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