The Five Hurdles to Happiness: and the Mindful Path to Overcoming Them

Five obstacles stand in between you and true happiness. What are they and how can you overcome them? Buddhist traditions teach that there are five negative qualities, or hindrances, that inhibit people from living an awakened life. 

Courtesy: Shambhala Publications

Clinical psychologist Mitch Abblett dedicated 230 somewhat-densely packed pages to studying those five qualities – desire, hostility, sluggishness, worry, and doubt- and teaching people a way around them. He bridges traditional wisdom with contemporary psychology and uses examples from his psychotherapy practice.

I particularly liked chapter two’s dissection of meditation. He acknowledges how hard it can be to sit still, and brings in the vast number of meditation apps, products, books, and ventures on meditation. The choices he validates, are overwhelming. Abblett even quotes scientific research on how the deck is biologically stacked against our efforts to meditate. 

Then, he cites Buddhist teachings of suffering, impermanence, and interconnectedness as a jumping point to get us to realize again why regular meditation is a goal worth striving for. He offers tips on how one might achieve it (in short: pay attention to what’s happening right now), with a gentle reminder to “send an intention of kindness towards yourself for your efforts…” Abblett concludes this – and every – chapter with a “closing inquiry.” In this one, he asks you to think about your relationship and reasons for meditation.

Overall, the book engages you to contemplate your life and nudges you to lean into your experience rather than merely repeating bad habits. By doing this, he emphasizes, you can break free from the hurdles and live more mindfully, effectively, and compassionately.

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Diane Ako

Peace of mind By Diane Ako I like to reflect on life. Sometimes it’s philosophically. Sometimes it’s humorously. For all its beauty, life is far too difficult a journey to take alone. You need the support and connection with others to help carry you along the way. Writing brings me that connection– within and without. It clarifies my thoughts and feelings. It helps me reach out to others for advice, wisdom, or feedback. Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions become you. A wise yogi- Patanjali- said, “Speak what is true. Speak what is pleasant.” Let’s speak of things pleasant to one another and seek some peace of mind along the way. ABOUT Diane Ako joined Hawaii: In Real Life in October 2016. She likes being part of a community of local bloggers – people who like writing and sharing, like she does. Ako is an anchor/ reporter at Island News (KITV4 – ABC) in Honolulu. She previously anchored and reported at KHON2 (FOX) and KHNL (NBC), and at stations in California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. She freelance writes for NMG Network's magazines. In between news jobs, in 2017, she launched and ran her own p.r. company, Diane Ako PR. From 2010-2014, she headed the public relations department at Halekulani Corporation, which oversees luxury resort Halekulani and boutique hotel Waikiki Parc. She’s been blogging since 2009 – before Hawaii: IRL, she wrote for The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest daily newspaper, where her stories garnered a dozen journalism awards and an Emmy nomination. Ako has a BA in Communications from Menlo College and an MA in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Manoa. She volunteers as a board member of the Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Cultural Foundation, a Shinto shrine maiden at Daijingyu Temple, a citizen-scientist studying shrimp, and a yoga teacher at a senior center.

Diane Ako has 274 posts and counting. See all posts by Diane Ako

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