Friday, January 07, 2005

What do the wisemen say about happiness

What can we learn from the wisemen from the East and the West about the subject of happiness?

From the East

A well guarded mind brings happiness. Those who are free from all worldly desires will attain Nirvana. Never covet what others have. It is deadly sin which grows away from all happiness. Learn to be happy with what you have. - Buddha

They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom. - Confucius

Even the most mundane objects are things of wonder, if we stop to look at them, and the fact that we are alive is the biggest wonder of all. - David Fontana, Zen

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. - The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet

Happiness is a continuous creative activity. - Baba Amte (born in 1915), Founder of the "Sanctuary of Love", Anandwan, India

Absolutely, God's allies will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve. They are those who believe and lead a righteous life. For them happiness in this life, and in the Hereafter. Such is God's inviolable law. This is the true triumph. - Quran


From the West

Happiness, if attainable at all, must be sought by reflection upon things that are remote from the impressions of sense. - Plotinus (A.D. 204-270), the Founder of Neoplatonism

Happiness lies in virtuous activity, and perfect happiness lies in the best activity, which is contemplative. Practical virtue brings only a secondary kind of happiness; the supreme happiness is in the exercise of reason, for reason, more than anything else, is man.
- Aristotle (B.C. 384-322)

Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness: on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself the ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way. - John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

There is no such thing as happiness, for an unfulfilled wish causes pain, and attainment brings only satiety. - Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires rather than in attempting to satisfy them. - John Stuart Mill

Happiness is attained through fidelity to a worthy purpose. - Helen Keller, 19th century deaf and blind activist

As for happiness, it is not something you experience, it's something you remember.
- Mark Twain

After reading what these great wisemen have said about happness, I asked many people around me to list out items which are of major importance to maintaining lasting happiness in their lives and it never ceases to amaze me that none of the earlier items mentioned in my previous blog appeared.None of these were mentioned:

1. Wealth
2. Physical appearance
3. Age
4. Power/Influence
5. Children
6. Possessions
7. Fame
8. Education

Instead, these are the items most mentioned as important:

1. A feeling of being in control of one's life and one's choices. Being adaptable to experiences and
outcomes.
2. A relationship, partnership, and lasting commitment.
3. A satisfying and rewarding job or career.
4. Good friends.
5. Leisure. Time to travel, retreat or relax. Private time to be alone, and authentic time
to share with others.
6. Exercise. Exercising in any style, degree of effort, or time duration that you need or want.
7. Sense of feeling connected to God. Having an avenue to express and experience Spirituality.
8. Hope.

HOPE was given as the ultimate tool or method that enabled individuals to endure life while they were waiting for their unmet needs to be fulfilled or fall into place.

If a person loses HOPE -- in a strained relationship, a stalled career, or negative health situation, the lack of this emotion can lead to miscommunication, a separation (or divorce), ongoing drama or crisis -- or even death. Losing hope invites lack of vision, criticism, boredom, anger, stagnation, and letting go of one's desire to live.

The quality of your HOPE is the quality of your perception of life.

To assure a constant stream of hope in your life, the first step is finding key people who will listen to you (i.e., your needs, wants, and desires) so that you feel heard. When you feel heard, hope begins. You can lose hope when there is negativity in your life. Even when the darkest moment surrounds us, know that there is or will be a person who will listen to your pain. By accepting the moment and the future, you are believable to those who want to help you.

Hope comes from knowing you can succeed. Knowing you can succeed comes from one or more persons who say, "you will overcome this challenge!" Therefore, it behooves you to (carefully) choose who you trust and tell your pains and problems to.

Interestingly enough, when we pray to God, in whatever form we conceive him to be, we are actually reaching out to "someone" who will listen to us. In praying to God, we are embarking on an act of hope in our lives in that we are asking God specifically to give us the hope and information we need.

Hope always comes from knowing we have a friend, loved one, or a loving God who listens to our problems. In asking for help, a solution always appears. It may take days, weeks, months, or years to forget the pain we endured, but this expands our breadth of love to accept new personal growth.

As we gain hope, happiness fills our days again. We start noticing how good food tastes, how beautiful the sky is, and how people take the time to help us. When hope fills our life again, our renewed value in our self leads us to our life mission and realization of our natural talents. The result is having control of our life, a great relationship, a rewarding job, good friends, more leisure time, desire to exercise, and a connection to God.

Do you have such hope in our lives?

Can we still continue to hope when eveything seem so hopeless and lost?

Are we in denial when we hope in such "hopeless" situations?

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