The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness.

~ Fyodor Dostoevsky ~

The How Of Happiness

August 6th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 48 secs

What makes lasting happiness…last?

Happiness is such a misunderstood state. After thinking about happiness for over a decade, I conclude that, like love, it’s a many-layered thing. Superficially, everyone understands happiness. It’s obvious. But what about lasting happiness? That one is a bit trickier.

I’ve had people explain to me that all it takes is to meet a stunning partner. With a good-looking person by your side, lasting happiness is assured (or at least more likely). Others say, “What you need is fistfuls of cash. When you’re rolling in money you’ll be able to have everything you want.” And, I’ve also talked to more than a few folk from different faiths, declaring their version is the right one. If you obey their codes, they assure, you too will achieve lasting happiness.

Well, I wonder what you think about this happiness issue? Is it clear to you? Or, do you have a few questions unanswered too?

As for model partners, cash to splash, and someone else’s religion; I don’t believe any of them will offer happiness in the way we desire. Sure, a lovely lover in your life is wonderful. But is he or she enough? What happens when times between you start getting rough? When spats turn into fights, and intimacy and trust take a tumble? Come those times, being attractive won’t to be enough.

Then there’s money: that astonishing exchange for labor that never seems to last. Have a lot and its impact is breathtaking. Yet, the kind of happiness money buys comes with a use by date. Even the rich, having money for whatever they desire, tire of even the most splendid things. So is money enough to give us personal fulfillment?

Some religious beliefs offer happiness as a draw card, don’t they? Obey, believe, and everything will go well for you. Well, that’s the idea. But a life of faith is often marked by a heightened sense of suffering and the conflict between mortal and spiritual issues. Looking at faith as a thrill or a way to keep you feeling happy would certainly be a mistake. Though belief does offer the potential to finding deep spiritual satisfaction, it is by no means assured (as, you no doubt have found, there are plenty of bitter believers).

So how do we find happiness? I have been pretty dismissive of attractiveness, wealth, and faith. But I’d like to add a caveat. You most certainly can have happiness in all of these things. But merely having them isn’t the answer. To release the happiness potential in everything we need to engage.

If happiness is something that comes from us connecting and creating, then you could actually be happy in all sorts of situations most people don’t expect. Could you be happy minus Mr Right? Sure, if you realize how dear your other relationships are and you’re making your life count. Can you be happy with empty pockets? It’s possible, if you realize how precious it is merely being alive. Could anyone be happier by walking away from a religious organization? Yes, if it means being freed from a deep clash of values.

Packed with the power to turn around seemingly bad things, happiness matters. Sometimes you see this clearest in its absence. Then, no amount of looks, opportunity, or blessings will change a thing. Why? Because we have been made to bring happiness into being. Just as people are capable of terror, we‘re also empowered to bring great beauty and joy into every living moment. Happiness is in our hands and we can release it by realizing with awareness, and appreciation. Fulfillment, at a deep and abiding level, comes through sensing and making sense.

Understanding the strengths and limits of looks and money, and accepting faith personally, are just some of the ways we can enable happiness to be released. Then, how we individually express our appreciation shapes how much happiness our life is going to show.

Fashioning a life of lasting happiness takes reflection. But if you dream of greater contentment, a meaning-filled life is a worthy investment.


Comments are closed.