"But O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes."(As You Like It, Act 5 Sc. 2, William Shakespeare)
Happiness is not just a state of mind. It is a state of being. It does not depend on any external factor, for it is governed by the attitude we have towards it. One can never find happiness by continually seeking what we believe makes up the fabric of such a notion. You cannot be happy by looking here or looking there. You must be, that is all there is to it. Any happiness you seek you must make for yourself. True happiness one must take for oneself. No one can make you happy unless you choose to be so. People who spend their lives trying never succeed in the doing. Happiness is a condition brought on by its own awareness. To be happy you must recognize it for what it is, then claim it as your very own. Clarity breeds happiness.Happiness is both a complex and simple way of being. It is a subjective experience instigated by an objective encounter. Simple happiness is fleeting while more complex forms tend to last throughout the lifetime of the bearer. People experience happiness in many ways. It can be a moment of laughter. It can be that lifetime of love. Happiness is a mixture of instant gratification and the recognized qualities that result in education which then results in understanding. Happiness is both a momentary reaction and a long-term condition. Understanding paves the way for happiness.
Happiness is a spiritual endeavour. It is a visceral experience, obtained through intuition rather than from reasoning or observation. There is no such thing as well-being without that sense of unity with something beyond ourselves. We cannot know happiness and peace apart from resolution with the Divine. Even the atheist must embrace their contentment within the confines of the journey they must take. Unless we are at peace within, no matter what that repose may offer, we must come to terms with our condition, including our ideas regarding God. There is no happiness without the solvent of self-discovery. The
Happiness, the state of well-being, is characterized through terms of emotion, usually the same emotions experienced when in that state. From intense joy, to contentment, and even to gain a disposition free from stress and/or those emotions, the mechanism of happiness is more than what you feel or don't feel. These things are but the consequence. To find peace one must learn to discipline and control one's own mind. If you can control what you think, you can find your way to enlightenment.
Enlightenment is a process. It is primarily aimed at the cessation or extinction of suffering, desire and individual consciousness. When one strives for enlightenment, having knowledge of the greater whole, one comes to an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your reality. You transcend the cycle of the Ego and come to see all is One. Happiness, real happiness, occurs when there is nothing but this sense of being a part of the collective.
"There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself." (Henry David Thoreau, American Author)
We spend so much time and energy being unhappy. There are, of course, lots of reasons for us to be that way. Storms will come and storms will go. The world around us and the person inside us are always shifting like sand; the wind comes and we are tossed in it. Each person has their own story: stories of grief, stories of devastation, tales of the broken heart and tales of helplessness. Life is hard and happiness can often seem unattainable. Apparently, we are as equal in our suffering as we are in our capacity to endure it. Our dysphoric tendencies, at times, take us to the lowest of the low. Life can be like swimming in a sea of mud, gasping for air. It is man’s great propensity, however, to survive. Joy will come again.I am confident in saying that I am a happy man. I have found the place where I am most content and satisfied with my life. Regardless of any enlightenment I have achieved, it is a difficult thing to maintain that space. The world is a complicated place. I often feel guilty for going on and finding peace within my life. When someone dies and you begin to swim up from the deep, sorrow can make you feel weighted down for doing so. Survivor’s guilt is a bitch, and she pushes us back into the water, holding our head just beneath the waves. As with all things, this too shall pass. We then find ourselves back on the path, better for having known trouble and strife, for having loved and for having lost. We learn to smile again, and then we chuckle. The chuckle becomes a giggle, and before you know it you are laughing in spite of yourself.
It’s not that we forget our pain and trials; we live on through them. Happiness sneaks through a door you didn’t even know was open. You start to realize how wonderful your life is, and you wish you had realized that fact so much earlier. Happiness is wanting exactly what you get. It may fly away, beyond our grasp, but if you take the time to recognize it, you may find it never really left. It is contagious and outrageous. It is silent and it booms. Stop trying to find it and recognize it was already there.
"It is a curious sensation: the sort of pain that goes mercifully beyond our powers of feeling. When your heart is broken, your boats are burned: nothing matters any more. It is the end of happiness and the beginning of peace." (George Bernard Shaw)
A lovely day never should be missed. I knew I was lucky to have a lovely place to enjoy the lovely day. My parents put so much time and energy into their gardens and landscapes; in their toil, they created a sanctuary. This oasis is a safe place to be. It is rich with plant life and trees, so many it often seems like a crowded place. Small, wild animals dart from refuge to refuge, hunting and playing, and this day, each avoided my pace. The summer sun almost tingled, breathing life into my cold pale skin. In this tranquility I found myself breathing, looming over nature and all she had to offer me. There are few moments in life when we actually find peace. All creatures tend to be at their best when struggling against their own nature, fighting for their life and then the breeze just drifts on by. It can lift us or send us down.I spied with my little eye a butterfly. A beautiful cyan blue, with black markings, it floated from flower to flower, immune to the danger that surrounded it on all sides. It seemed like a free agent in this inevitable and seemingly meaningless universe. It was silent while dancing, finally capturing that summer breeze and using it to its advantage. This was a creature of action, not words. As it played hopscotch on petals, I knew it knew. It alone was responsible for its experience. It picked each pretty flower, always true to itself and the nature of being a butterfly.
I tried to catch it softly, cupping my hand beneath each flower where it rested. It simply fluttered away, aware but immune. So I tried to snatch it from its place, but it won the race and floated off to another flower. It lingered no matter what I did. It only seemed interested in acquiring each bloom. I looked at the creature, with great pause, studying it like a vision or sweet consequence. Then defeat came as it flew out of reach, whispering that "enough was enough."
I sat down on the grassy hill and looked into the sun. My eyelids burnt a little, like the dried but once green patch beneath my hands. I wondered to myself how that insect knew. How could such a small thing recognize anything outside its own existence? Did it really see me or hear me? Was it only chance that moved it away? Eventually, I forgot about that little blue fairy and I went on with my contemplation. Just in that moment, another butterfly landed on my leg.
"Look beyond ourselves,
There's so much sorrow,
It's way too late to say, I'll cry tomorrow
Each of us must find our truth,
It's so long overdue,
So for tonight we pray for,
What we know can be,
And everyday, we hope for,
What we still can't see,
It's up to us, to be the change,
And even though we all can still do more,
There's so much to be thankful for."
(Noël, Josh Groban 2007)
Happiness, as an emotional state, comes and goes. We spend our existence trying to recapture it. Dissatisfaction is something we spend our entire life trying to overcome. Happiness, as a state of being, never fades and never decreases when being shared. It holds personal experience and responsibility as a demand on the individual. We must interpret the world in order to change it. A sure way to lose happiness is to want it at the expense of everything else. We submerge it. When you find yourself wanting, give it a chance to float up. After all, no one can find your happiness for you but you.
The Existential Butterfly