What defines happiness?

Happiness? What is that? How many times have I heard clients respond with that statement when I ask them what makes them happy? For many even the word itself is void of meaning. I have known happiness and I have know sorrow. When I look back at those times of unhappiness, I can see there were moments I contributed to my own pain by making poor choices. As I take time to reflect I understand how I even sabotaged myself, resulting in the loss of my happiness. When this occurs in life, it does to all, it is important to admit we made a mistake. Once we recognize and address the issue, we can move quickly to correct that which we see. I have decided not to trade my happiness and joy for any temporary desire, instant gratification, or lust of the flesh. Being true to one self is another step to being truly happy.

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now.”
Zig Ziglar

2 thoughts on “What defines happiness?

  1. There are many modes of happiness. Playfully, here is my somewhat poetic description of a few of those modes on an aural-like spectrum:
    • Elation is an exhilarating explosion of delight; it can ring in the ears, but is transient and dulled in time by deafness.
    • Euphoria is a gushing, surf-like roar of sparkling dream-like well-being; it ebbs with the tide of habituation.
    • Cheerfulness is a birdsong calling to mate or purpose, but silenced by distraction.
    • Contentment is a harmonic resonance of comfortable knowingness that endures by propagating feedback loops.

    I have come to the conclusion that when you chase after happiness it will be elusive. Happiness, I think, is a byproduct of fortuitous events and living the right life, the life that rings true to your values and beliefs. Happiness is not necessarily the goal; happiness just flows along side the true path for your life. That path where your actions and beliefs are in harmony.

    However, there may be another definition of happiness.

    Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, in his book “The Joy of Living,” suggests happiness can arise by stilling the mind through meditation. “If you truly want to discover a lasting sense of peace and contentment, you need to learn to rest your mind…[I]f you allow the mind to come to rest, ignorance, attachment, aversion, and all other mental afflictions will gradually settle, and compassion, clarity, and infinite expanse of your mind’s real nature will be revealed.” By stilling the mind, negative thoughts may vanish, and our natural state of happiness will shine through.

    Happiness may be the state of no unhappiness!

    • I am happy you commented on this awesome state of being. Happiness within does not have to dictated by the circumstances from without. I agree that stilling the mind is one avenue towards achieving happiness. Walking on the path where my actions and beliefs are in harmony, is the same as when I pray “As One”. I desire to be in harmony with my spiritual convictions, being true to my own heart, and line up my physical and emotional life by staying in the present and appreciating each moment.

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