“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” Aristotle
Wow, that’s a big introduction…. the meaning, purpose, and whole aim of life…..
If Aristotle is right, then it seems that most of us are missing the point of life. We are caught up working long hours trying to make a living, consuming too much stuff (much of which we don’t need), and worrying what other people think about us!
While a lot of the stuff that consumes our time is ‘important,’ maybe we could just stop what we are doing, turn our busy minds down, and just allow ourselves to be happy…. For no reason other than IT MAKES UP HAPPY! It’s a choice, right?….. Are you willing to spend a few moments to help heal your body, mind, and emotions, by choosing to be happy, RIGHT NOW?
“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” Carl Jung
So even though Aristotle believes happiness is the whole aim of life, I believe he also knew that as yet it is unattainable for the majority of humanity. You see, we come from a spiritual realm and descend into these physical forms (human bodies) to embark on an adventure called “LIFE.”
Life is a schoolyard, a learning center where we play and get to experience duality. Up means there is a down, Left implies that right exists, in has its opposite in out, and happy cannot exist without sad! Having one state permanently (being happy all the time) would lose its meaning and appeal if we did not know its partner.
I know that it’s counter-intuitive for most of us, but we need to embrace the opposites (the sadness) so that we can also experience when we are happy. One cannot exist without the other.
“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” Dale Carnegie
Yes! Happiness is often defined as a pleasant emotional state that is characterized by feelings of contentment, joy, gratification, satisfaction, and well-being. And what causes us to have certain feelings?…… it’s the thoughts we are thinking. So our feelings at any time are brought about by our thoughts, not because of what we have or don’t have, what we have achieved or didn’t achieve, BUT SOLELY BECAUSE OF WHAT WE ARE THINKING ABOUT THE THINGS WE HAVE OR DON’T HAVE, ACHIEVED OR HAVEN’T ACHIEVED, ETC.
Our thoughts are the INNER FORCE driving our whole life, and if we want to be happy, we can choose to be, regardless of what is happening in our ‘outer world.’ Even if a situation arises that would be deemed sad, WE CAN react with ‘peace and equanimity.’
“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” Charles Spurgeon
How much we enjoy is determined, once again and always, by the thoughts that are traversing our minds. Thinking about happy memories, happy outcomes, happy futures, is a sure-fire way to temporarily change our state into one of happiness. We cannot think happy thoughts and be anything but happy. Equally so, it is a fact that we cannot think of negative thoughts and be happy!
OUR THOUGHTS DETERMINE OUR STATE OF BEING (feeling) AT ALL TIMES.
“If a person’s basic state of mind is serene and calm, then it is possible for this inner peace to overwhelm a painful physical experience. On the other hand, if someone is suffering from depression, anxiety, or any form of emotional distress, then even if he or she happens to be enjoying physical comforts, he will not really be able to experience the happiness that these could bring.” Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
Back to Aristotle’s thoughts that happiness is the meaning, purpose, and whole aim of life. Ok, but to be happy all the time, we need to have taken control of our ‘Monkey Mind.’ The Buddhists refer to our unsettled, restless, capricious, whimsical, fanciful, inconstant, confused, indecisive, and uncontrollable thoughts as emanating from our monkey mind. These are thoughts that produce feelings and actions/reactions that we do not necessarily intend, or want, to happen.
For up to ninety-five percent of each day, we are operating in auto-pilot mode and are not consciously choosing what to think and feel. These thoughts are a product of information stored in our subconscious mind and reveal themselves when we are not ‘living consciously.’
An unsettled and confused mind is often caused by thinking about the past or future and which means we are not paying attention to the present moment. When we learn to return our attention to the present moment, we can look for and find serenity, peace, and happiness in the smallest of details.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” Denis Waitley
To travel to, to own, to earn, to wear, and to consume, are all things we experience in our ‘outer world,’ that which is exterior to us. ‘US’ is the ‘inner world’ of thoughts and feelings, and this is the only place where we can experience happiness….. within ourselves, independent of what is happening outside of us.
“How simple it is to see that we can only be happy now, and there will never be a time when it is not now.” Gerald Jampolsky
You can’t be happy tomorrow, because, as the saying goes, ‘tomorrow never comes.’ We can be happy because of something that is going to happen tomorrow, which means we are thinking about it, and feeling the happiness right now, at this very moment. And this is the only moment we ever have, and that is why it is called the ‘present moment.’ Remember that a present also means a gift!
“Your happiness is the most significant contribution that you could make. In your reaching for happiness, you are opening a vortex which makes you an avenue for the Well-being to flow through you. And anything that is your object of attention under those conditions, benefits by the infusion of your Well-being.” Abraham Hicks
Ah….. so, when you think about it, it is our responsibility, and our duty to be happy, so that all of those we surround ourselves with, will benefit. Imagine the opposite for a split-second. If our energy or feelings are hostile and negative, what effect is this having on those that we love and those that depend on us?
Consciously choosing to be happy not only helps us but helps raise the vibration of all those we come into contact with….. You may think that some people don’t deserve your happiness or your forgiveness because of all the bad things they have done. BUT REALIZE THIS: YOU DESERVE YOUR HAPPINESS! Nothing else is as important as realizing this one simple fact: You deserve your happiness and you can choose to be happy right now!
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. Buddha
Following on from the previous quote by Abraham Hicks, the Buddha gets straight to the heart of the matter!
How do we want our immediate environment to be? Do we wish to be surrounded by loving, caring, nurturing, and happy people? I think any ‘normal’ person would say yes to this. So if this is not our current reality, but it is what we want, we can become the candle that shines a light on others to inspire them. And without consciously knowing it, they will in turn infect others with their happiness….. such a simple thing to do, and so rewarding for all people that we come into contact with, and that they come into contact with, and so on. I wonder how many people you can infect with happiness today, and tomorrow, and the next day?……….
“Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.” Sri Chinmoy
Happiness is not a fixed quantity. It comes in varying degrees and again the degree to which we can achieve happiness is dependent on our state of being. The highest ideal for us is to achieve a state of absolute, unconditional, love. Love never judges, never complains, never wishes things were different, and never holds a grudge.
This state of being requires that we live our lives consciously and deliberately with the intent to make the world a better place for all beings. This state of being, in absolute happiness, depends on our realizing that all life is connected and interdependent and that ALL THAT EXISTS is there for our benefit, our growth and development, and for our enjoyment.
By looking deeply into our circumstances we will begin to realize that nothing happens to us by chance. All things that occur are a consequence of ATTRACTION. Our thoughts create our feelings and our feelings resonate at a particular vibration to draw to us circumstances that match our vibration.
If our predominant thoughts are about feeling unloved and unappreciated, then we will attract people and circumstances into our lives to confirm this ‘reality’ or vibration that we have created for ourselves!
We can all, right now, begin to change our thoughts to change our world. Choose happy thoughts now to begin to raise your vibration to attract more love, joy, and happiness into your life! Why wouldn’t you?
“Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.” St. Augustine
Haha….. Great quote!
I think we were ripped off when we graduated from school. Our modern education systems teach us accounting, geography, math, language, etc, but they don’t teach us how to be happy! We are not educated about our place in the world and about how what we persistently think about affects our future life circumstances and therefore the quality of our lives.
What we are taught is: if we obey the rules, get good grades (happy), we can get a good job, (happy) and earn good money, (happy) and buy a house, (happy) get married and have kids, (happy) work for forty years to pay the mortgage, raise our kids, (happy) and then retire, (happy).
Sure, there are many things that we can be happy about, (I hope) each and every day. Life is great. But when we are always looking forward to the next milestone to be happy, we are missing the opportunities to be happy in all the steps along the way (the present moment).
Remember: Life is a journey, not a destination. As Eleanor Roosevelt said:
“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”
Happiness is the by-product of living life consciously and enjoying ALL OF THE STEPS ALONG THE WAY!
“There is no way to happiness — happiness is the way.” Thich Nhat Hanh
“Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” Margaret Lee Runbeck
“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” L.M. Montgomery
“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” Hunter S. Thompson
“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.” Freya Stark
“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.” Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Confucius
“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” Ernest Hemingway
“Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive.” Elbert Hubbard
“We can’t control the world. We can only (barely) control our own reactions to it. Happiness is largely a choice, not a right or entitlement.” David C. Hill
“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.” Epictetus
I wish lots of love, joy, and untold happiness, for you and those that you care about,
Shared with love and respect for all souls that choose to play the game of life!