During the last few weeks I have started following some blogs of fellow “happiness workers”, have liked few “happiness pages” and read a lot of works on the subject of Happiness. I’ve stumbled upon some documentaries about philosophers and their ideas, and workshops where people search for the truth using their ways.
Thinking about it I realise we have a rich history of knowledge and a treasure trove of hundreds of theories, studies, methodologies.
Happiness has always been the focus of many of the philosophers’ endeavors.
We might be 7 billion unique people on this planet but we are all looking for something meaningful in our lives while we are here. For many of us this is Happiness – to have something to live for or to live towards something. Or said in another way – to live to be happy or to be happy to live. It is all a game of words but the question many of us are asking is:
Where Happiness comes from?
And more specifically, I wonder if happiness is to be experienced in a sense of gaining/achieving, a self – affirming act or rather as an act of giving/sharing/spreading?
What I’ve read so far mostly sustains the notion that Happiness is to be found within ourselves. It manifests when we establish a deep connection with our real selves – by observing our thoughts, feelings, behaviors. We should not look for Happiness outside of ourselves – in places we want to go to, things we want to have, people we are attracted to. In fact, the “wanting” makes us look for one thing after another and it never ceases.
Instead we should take responsibility of our lives, commit to a journey of self-discovery and once we cultivate a relationship with our true essence then we could transcend Happiness in the outer world too. And by sharing and giving we can inspire others to do so and only by doing this we can transform the world into a happier place.
I think we will all agree this is true. Happiness comes from within. In fact, our whole reality is being manifested by what is within us.
As above so below, as within so without
The way we can “create” joy and happiness, we can also “create” sorrow and unhappiness.
This knowledge of the inner world of a person has been re-defined in the recent past as the “subconscious”. The “hidden” desires and fears of the human have been unscrupulously manipulated by certain people to achieve their egotistical goals. What I mean is that, in the beginning of modern society these inner processes were thoroughly examined by psychoanalysts and then used in a way to manipulate the masses and form a society based on consumerism. I point out to Z. Freud and his studies, later taken and applied by advertisers to make people associate well-being and happiness with the products and services they buy.
But eventually all their “experiments” failed agreeing on the fact that the inner world of each individual is un-knowable and un-controllable.
So it seems that what is within is the real power we possess, but only used in a positive and constructive way. For many of us it is still hard to turn our vision in this direction and accept it as a main perspective in our lives. But gradually by being focused on and mindful of our inner universe we will be able to find our “piece” of Happiness.
However, a friend of mine shared another opinion which I find very thoughtful and wise.
Happiness can come both from achieving something and from sharing or giving something but not necessarily from either. And also a disappointment can occur. You could achieve a goal or fulfill a desire but this could prove to be an anticlimactic experience or the cost could be too high, for instance. Or if you give something, others may not want to accept it and this leads to disappointment also.
When you have needs you need to satisfy them and when they are met – a state of contentment arises. This brings you out of the state of lack and into a more centered position. From where you can give. When you can share something and others can willingly accept your offering, then a point of connection happens. This is where Happiness arises.
The point where others can willingly accept what you offer is crucial. We can often fall in a situation where help has been pushed onto us and we are not ready to accept it or we don’t really need it. In my opinion, people often tend to “extend” their desire to help not realising the true needs of an individual which could be only moral support and understanding. A short example – our parents often have ideas and plans that they think would make our lives better, which undermines our own choices and this creates unnecessary tension and conflicts.
As a conclusion, I could say the internal and external aspects are both powerful because what is inside us we project onto the outside world. And we should remember this for other people too. We should be mindful of ourselves but also of others’ “inner works”. And we should not impose our values onto them. As of the achieving/giving opposition I could say consideration is the most important. We could be happy either way but often this could cause others experience something negative.
Being conscious of both aspects and not cause harm should be our priority. Happiness could arise naturally form anything but so could damage. It is our mission to “fix” our inner state but also to create a change in the world we live in.
Remembering this and keeping the good will in our hearts should lead us forward on our way to Happiness.