The Source of Happiness

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Happiness is an elusive bird that we all wish to catch. Consciously or unconsciously we are striving for happiness in both our inner and outer lives; but, what is that really gives us happiness? If we can know the source of permanent and abiding happiness we can help to make it a reality.

Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

– Nathaniel Hawthorne:

Self Giving

It is a tendency of the mind to feel that happiness is in the fulfilment of our desires and pleasing our self. However, when we pursue our own selfish interests, happiness remains strangely elusive. Through self giving we can learn the real art of happiness. Self giving is an unconditional offering to others. Through self giving we enlarge our sense of self; self-giving helps us to identify with a larger, vaster consciousness. It is through self giving that we can learn the true meaning of oneness with others. Oneness is another name for love. If we feel others as part of our own self, is this not real love? It is this expansion of consciousness that is a source of abiding happiness. It is not the selfish human love that demands and expects from others.

I am very happy
Because I have conquered myself
And not the world.

I am very happy
Because I have loved the world
And not myself.

– Sri Chinmoy

Peace of Mind

Peace of mind means that we are at peace with ourself. Peace of mind means that we are not striving and pushing to be something we are not. To have peace of mind we need to be able to control our thoughts; it is only our own thoughts that can rob us of peace mind. If we depend upon the appreciation and respect of others, we will never have peace of mind. To make peace of mind a permanent reality we need to control our thoughts and think of others, not just our own self.

Gratitude

Gratitude is cheerful acceptance. Gratitude brings to the fore our best positive qualities. If we can have a sincere feeling of gratitude for even the smallest of events we are taking the positive cheerful frame of mind. If we have no gratitude we develop a feeling of self sufficiency. This self sufficiency creates feelings of both pride and insecurity. Gratitude is the most effective remedy for these emotions. In gratitude we give due value to others and also the natural wonders of the world.

How do You Treat Others?

If we gossip about other people, if we are inconsiderate of other people, we have to expect a similar treatment. There is a saying that ‘a thief looks upon everyone else as a thief, a Saint looks upon everyone else as a Saint’. If we concentrate on other people’s bad qualities, we actually strengthen these qualities in our own self. But, if we focus on the good qualities of others we make these part of ourself. The real secret of happiness lies in how we treat other people. If we can be tolerant of others weakness’, we strengthen ourself and receive the appreciation of others. Kindness to others is a very simple act, but, it can make a big difference to developing good relationships. The key is that the kindness should be unconditional, we should not just be positive to others in the hope of getting something back. In essence we cannot fail to live the golden rule and “treat others as you would have them treat you.”

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Photo used with permission: World Harmony Run site

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11 thoughts on “The Source of Happiness”

  1. It’s true. When we seek our own happiness, we do not find it. The feeling of unhappiness we experience is the deep knowledge of our own failiure to live up to the best within us. And so naturally a prideful attitude, seeking one own happiness, only creates more unhappiness within us. But this unhappiness is a gift that shows us the error of our ways, we can never escape it and this is a good thing. Perhaps we cannot all be saints, but I find a very practical way of creating peace within myself is to pray or chant while focusing on the happiness of anybody I may have harmed, and also to against those who have harmed me. Love your enemies, send them as much happiness as you can and then the debt is paid. Never let pride have any power over you if you can help it.

  2. “ To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
    We once ended a class discussion with a conclusion saying living content is key to happiness. We also know that we can become content with a widening of scope, an embrace to nature, and to live simplified as Thoreau might say. However, if an individual becomes completely immersed in the ego mind and succeeds in the conformity of competition, that single individual is also likely to achieve contentment. Is that ego based individual happy? And is happiness an emotion arises out of comparison, does it come out as an added effect from a situation, or does it require a complete connection of being while maintaining control of the ego mind? Also, we constantly try to analyze life and its meaning, will the enlightenment of truth make us happy, or will it only trigger more questions out of a never-ending loop of logic and reason? Shouldn’t we just enjoy life as it is without trying to understand it or will that be labeled ignorant?

  3. I’m not sure happiness and being content is the same thing. From where I come from and with my background, I would think being content is just being satisfied and happiness is to the level of utopia.

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