I will take you a little back in time.
I will remind you that the post “What is the purpose?” was left unfinished.
This is where I summarized the feedback I got when I asked my friends what Happiness is for them. It was a colourful palette to which I’d like to return to.
I will try to extract the core expressions and do some further analysis.
So here they are:
Comfort Togetherness Small things Appreciation
Harmony Sharing Everyday life Contribution
Natural Duality Evaluation Simply BE
Birthright Instability Comparison
The definitions are genuine and complete in themselves but I’d like to take a closer look and elaborate on their meaning.
Happiness could be distinguished by being “inner” and “outer”. Or said another way, it is the relationship with your inner being and the outside world. The “inner” including your mind being calm, your heart feeling love, your soul being peaceful and your spirit – radiating. The “outer” is reflecting your connection with other people and the environment you are in.
Happiness for some people is sharing and spreading joy. They feel happier when they have someone to share it with. I can use a quote here:
Happiness (is) real only when shared
Remember “Into the wild”? This is what I’m reminded of, I recommend the movie if you haven’t seen it yet. I think there is a lot of wisdom there.
To experience Happiness you don’t really need anything more than you already have. Happiness is all around us, every minute. All you need to do is open your heart for it. Happiness is meant to be part of our lives. It could also be said that Unhappiness doesn’t really exist.
Unhappiness is the absence of Happiness
So it is a lack you feel. You feel that something is missing. In my thinking it is the “having” and the “wanting” that ignite this endless cycle. And this reminds me of the Buddhist and Hinduistic teachings outlining desire, possession and karma as the main sources of our suffering.
Happiness is directly related to your living experience – needs, desires and achievements. It comes from personal growth and the appreciation of your qualities and abilities and by doing so contributing to life – your own and others’.
This correlates to the hierarchy of the human needs by A. Maslow. We all need air, food, shelter as basis for survival. Then the pyramid escalates into personal security, stability and well-being. The next level is “love and belonging” and describes our need to have human relationships, be part of a community. Then self-esteem is established – by contributing and participation you gain recognition and respect by others and yourself. The last level is self-actualization – a desire to deepen the experience of self-discovery and fulfillment of potential.
Happiness is fleeting. You may experience it for a while but inevitably you come across sadness or some other negative state. It’s a process that never ends – cycle after cycle, the coin never stops turning. A chain of ups and downs – this often is considered to be the normal human experience. Seems like common knowledge – no one is always happy, unless they are living in “la-la land”.
Let me tell you about my own “mind-observation”. Today I watched a video called “Mr. Happy”. It is about a guy who goes to the same road junction everyday and spends the day waving to all the passing cars calling out “Hi, I love you, how are you?” My first thought was “That’s a bit mad.” And then I thought about my thought. Why would I think that? Why would I think it’s insane to express your love or happiness? We will all agree it is unusual way to do it but I think something deeper lies underneath.
Many of us are afraid of being regarded as not normal if they show their affection or express their Happiness. We are afraid to express our feelings, we are even afraid to feel them. I believe there’s an embedded fear in us to be truly open and liberated.
This makes me ask “Is it because of this we need Unhappiness sometimes?” “Do we need to feel unhappy in order to deserve to be happy, to justify our Happiness?” “Do we fear we might be regarded improper if we express Happiness?”
In the worldview of many of us, pursuing Happiness is something like the quest for the Holy Grail in the tales of King Arthur. Something like a secret formula we think we’ve unveiled but then it slips away. A delusion.
I think our vision has been limited. It is our societal conditioning – what our parents, teachers, employers and peers tell us to think, that is responsible for our perception of the world.
I can only hope we will start to feel uncomfortable with these impositions and will want to liberate ourselves – start dancing on the street, painting in the sand and saying “Good morning, I love you” to each other more often.
It is true that Happiness changes with experience. You lose someone and it feels like it is the end of the world. It hurts you and you need time to recover – the widely known cure.
Time heals all wounds
But what is it that makes us feel this pain inside? Why do we say our hearts are broken?
I think it is the “attachment” to someone or something that causes the pain. Our hearts are made to love, but the mind tells us we’ve lost this person, for instance. This reminds me again of the Eastern teachings and the act of possession.
Happiness as an evaluation is a very interesting suggestion. It contrasts the way you are feeling now with how you have been or where you want to be – the measure of your state of being in the past and present and future.
At the risk of using a cliché, I will say that we should be focused on the present moment and fully immerse into it. This could mean living in a “loss” or wanting for something to change. Whatever the case is, we can’t erase the past nor should we dream of the future. Not in a way that makes us unhappy. Instead we should try to embrace the now as an infinite potential for Happiness.
I will use the last definition as a conclusion – to simply Be. To try to remember we are perfect the way we are, be gentle to ourselves and live in harmony with others, and be of service whenever we can help.
I think most of us start to feel the urge for inner reformation and we can find the guidelines in ourselves. I believe we are courageous and bright beings and we can change our perspective.
And remember to be Happy.