Aristotle came to the conclusion that what a person wants above all is to be HAPPY.
Not only we seek Happiness for its own sake but all other endeavors — health, beauty, honour, money or power — are valued only because we expect these to make us happy.
“life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are the unalienable rights of a person.
So, what is Happiness?
It is a fuzzy concept.
Modern science defines happiness as the positive range of emotions that we feel when we are content or full of joy.
Not very clear, isn’t it?
A quote by Charles Spurgeon may provide a better definition of Happiness —
“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes Happiness.”
Lyubomirsky defined a happy person as someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride, and infrequent negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety and anger.
In fact happiness is an individual’s idiosyncrasy, it has different meaning for different people.
Osho tells an anecdote to emphasize this…
Four women sat for hours under the hairdryers at the beauty parlor. After exhausting their gossip, they turned to philosophy. The first lady said, “Happiness is when my husband brings home his paycheck.”
The second lady stated, “Happiness is gambling in Las Vegas and winning.”
The third lady commented, “Happiness is vacationing without my husband or my children.”
The fourth lady concluded, “Happiness is eating without worrying about calories.”
Upon eavesdropping, one hairdresser whispered to the other, “Happiness is not having to listen to these cackling hens.”
It is clear that the idea of happiness has no universal definition — it is a personal phenomenon.
Happiness is not
— Feeling good all the time.
— Being rich and able to afford everything you want.
— Being the most powerful person on earth.
— Not even having the best of everything in your life.
Osho further describes,
Happiness is not a result. It is a way of life. It is an attitude, not a desire. “You can be happy here and now if you know how to be, but you will never be happy if you don’t know how to be and you go on desiring it. Happiness is an art. It is a way of life.”
How to achieve happiness?
The art of happiness can be achieved by training our mind and changing the way we live our lives. His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama — the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people explains…
Happiness can be achieved through training the mind
If you desire happiness, you should identify those factors which lead to happiness and those factors which lead to suffering. Having done this, you can gradually do the following:
- Eliminate those factors which lead to suffering from your life.
- Cultivate those factors which lead to happiness.
That is, one achieves happiness through learning which positive mental states to cultivate and which to eliminate, and then making a sustained effort to implement this knowledge.
Positive mental states which lead to happiness include the following:
Negative mental states which lead to suffering include the following:
Deliberately selecting and focusing on positive mental states which lead to happiness, and challenging negative mental states which lead to suffering, requires a systematic training of the mind.
Happiness can be achieved by shifting your perspective
we should do is shift our perspective by doing the following:
- Looking for opportunities which could arise from the situation.
- Taking a wider perspective.
- Thinking of how things could be worse.
Shifting our perspective can make the problem seem smaller and more manageable. One’s level of life satisfaction can be enhanced simply by shifting one’s perspective and contemplating how things could be worse. How we feel at any given moment has little to do with the conditions themselves, but is rather a function of how we perceive the situation and how satisfied we are with what we have.
Compassion and altruism lead to happiness
Compassion, the Dalai Lama explains, is a mental attitude based on the rationale that all human beings have an innate desire to be happy and to overcome suffering, coupled with a desire for others to achieve this as well. It’s associated with a sense of commitment, responsibility, and respect toward the other.
In developing compassion one should begin with the wish that oneself be happy and free of suffering, and then take that natural feeling toward oneself and extend it out to include and embrace others.
The altruism (disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others)that arises from compassion is a key component of happiness. Several studies have shown that helping others can induce a calmer mind and a feeling of happiness.
Dalai Lama is talking about good Karma! A person in pursuit to be happy should perform good Karma and that is indeed the key to be happy!
The importance of fun
One normally has to work for a living.To live a full life, one also needs play, leisure and fun.
Leisure time is important because it helps us breathe and gives us the opportunity to discover ourselves and grow. Relaxation, recreation and rest satisfies the needs that are not fulfilled at work and makes us happy.
Spiritually speaking, long lasting happiness cannot be achieved through worldly things as it is momentary and perishable. The eternal happiness, when one lives in unending joy and contentment, is the happiness of realizing self and God.
Whichever way we look at it, happiness can only be built on the foundation of a calm, stable mind. That is the simple secret of happiness. If we want to be happy then we should enjoy what we are doing and not let the past or the future move our mind. We should firmly live in the present and try to find the beauty of life at every step.
Let us make some changes to our attitude and shift our perspective a little to be Happy.🙂