When we’re deluged by bad-news stories, it’s hard to not feel discouraged or even depressed. But, according to Buddhist psychologist Jack Kornfield, falling into despair is not a response that helps anyone—not you, nor your community or the medizen. Instead, he argues, we must aim for compassion, caring, and equanimity.

In this conversation, the acclaimed author of books like A Path with Heart and The Wise Heart offers up his perspective on suffering and what we can do to maintain our caring heart, using practices honed over thousands of years from traditional wisdom traditions. Many of these have been validated by researchers studying the new science of personal and social well-being, suggesting an interesting confluence between ancient traditions and modern science.

If you want to hear more, Kornfield will be expanding on these ideas in a session at The Science of Happiness: Live, the GGSC’s special three-day event on May 2-5, 2019, in Northern California.

Jill Suttie: How do you define happiness?

Jack Kornfield: Happiness has lots of meanings. We’re happy if there’s safety and security in our life, and we’re happy in the deepest way when we feel a sense of belonging and connection with one another, and with the beautiful world around us. We’re happy if we have a sense of purpose and meaning; we’re happy if we can learn to tend our own heart and mind in a way that brings inner well-being and peace and joy amidst the vicissitudes of life.

Happiness in the deepest sense is not a feeling state or a succession of pleasures, but a deep sense of well-being and an appreciation for life itself, with all of its mystery and changes.