We are where we are in life due to past causes like habits. The Buddha gave us an eight step path that leads to the end our suffering. The path is putting in new causes for a happier effect.
Our current behaviour is the result of past conditions. The Buddha laid out an eight step path for us to change conditions from those that cause suffering to those that release us from suffering.
A natural law is that everything that arises does so due to causes. This is not a simple A = B. The causes are complex and multi-layered. Because of our ignorance of reality (that nothing lasts), we repeatedly create situations we believe will create happiness or avoid suffering ..... but instead, the final result is suffering. We go to a movie to enjoy ourselves ...... then it ends. Now what? We are in a state of discontentment. This is suffering due to impermanence. We're between hits of joy. We need to search for another activity to create happiness. So we go to a restaurant to have a delicious meal. Yum! But then we get a stomach ache because we ate too late, or ate too much. This is direct suffering.
The Buddha's 8 step Path to the way out of this suffering starts with understanding cause and effect. Understanding that wanting things and creating conditions to obtain these things is endless and doesn't lead to lasting happiness. If we are content, regardless of whatever arises in the moment, we find peace. This is letting go. Add in the intentions of goodwill and compassion, kind speech and non harming and we have a wonderful foundation for happiness. Next on the Path is being mindful of the present moment. Finally, letting go into stillness. A peaceful, blissful stillness from which wisdom arises. The wisdom that really wakes us up to reality and to liberation from suffering.
Let's give it a try and find out for ourselves!
Overview of the Eightfold Path, talk by Ajahn Sona....starting at 5:56.
Overview of the Eightfold Path, talk by Ajahn Brahmali
The Beginner's Guide to Insight Meditation, p88 - 96 - by Arinna Weisman and Jean Smith
Download the PDF of the entire Lesson Six
More resources for Lesson Six:
Ten Perfections - by Ajahn Sona: you tube playlist of 11 videos
Right View - by Ajahn Brahmali
Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness - by Bhante Gunaratana: PDF
For a Future to be Possible - by Thich Nhat Hanh: view book on Amazon
Interbeing - by Thich Nhat Hanh: view book on Amazon
Explorations in Awareness, Chapter 8 - by Mechele Calvert (CTBC's library)
The Buddhist Path to Simplicity, Chapter 3 - by Christina Feldman: view book on Amazon
Pay Attention, for Goodness' Sake - by Sylvia Boorstein
A Treatise on the Paramis - by Acariya Dhammapala: view book on Amazon