Subhash Vasist

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How do you think one should understand and pursue happiness?

What does true happiness mean to you? what has been your life experience with happiness? How do you think mankind should approach happiness?

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    Mar 9 2012: Love what you do no matter what you do.
    Love the people that fill your life no matter what people they are.
    Accept and love yourself for what you are no matter what others think of you.

    Think and see the positive only and the world will act positive on you.
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      Mar 9 2012: Beautiful words Frans!
      Sometimes i wonder why language had to be so complicated.. English is so complicated a language that if the right context of a word is not understood... it can be totally misunderstood.... For example the word 'Love'...
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      Mar 9 2012: Frans and Subhash,
      We make language complicated with our many different interpretations and preferences!

      To answer your question, I would first take "should" out of the question. I have no right or desire to suggest how others should or should not pursue happiness. We are all different, have different likes, dislikes, preferences, and may understand and experience happiness/contentment in many different ways.

      Frans offers a very simple and realistic answer..."Love what you do no matter what you do". Or as I often say..."do what you love, or love what you're doing".

      I believe the life experience is about learning, so in each and every moment, my heart and mind are open to the possibilities and opportunities. Acceptance and love of ourself as evolving human beings, and the love and acceptance of others, is one of the most important stepping stones for me on the life journey. Those who believe their way is the one and only way, are simply missing the opportunity to really connect with others, thereby denying themselves the feelings, thoughts, ideas, opinions and beliefs that contribute to our growth and connectedness in this earth school that we all share.
      • Mar 10 2012: Colleen thank you for your kind words.
  • Mar 9 2012: This is a great topic. I have changed a lot in the last ten years and here is what I have learn about happiness and what makes me happy:

    - enjoy the journey rather than the destination

    - surround yourself with positive people, both friends and family

    - good relationships and good friends/family is the most important thing in life

    - find your passion and hobbies

    - embrace minimalism as stuff will not make you happy in the long run. The more stuff you buy the more time, money and energy you have to spend to maintain them, upgrade them, and replace them.

    - cut time spent watching TV (or cancel the TV altogether) and instead read or meet others. You will never remember what you watched a few months ago but you will always remember meetings with your friends or what you have read

    - have fun in life like kids do by being yourself and do silly things

    - don't take anything too seriously and don't try to be perfect to lower your stress level

    - exercise weekly to keep yourself healthy

    - donate your time and money to charities and helping others so that you do your part in making this world a better place and you will feel great

    cheers
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      Mar 9 2012: Good thoughts Zdenek!

      Happiness is a state of being... yes... but one cannot always remain there for life is in between dualities... one cannot always stay in one half of the duality... Happiness and sadness are like the two extremes of a pendulum... If we really reflect...when we move towards happiness we are bound to move towards sorrow... and vice versa is also true... when there is lot of sadness there is only one way where we move and that is towards happiness..

      True happiness or contentment can be found by accepting reality and to fully experience this reality.. Acceptance is a quality which every one must develop in order to experience contentment...

      Gratitude towards oneself is also another important aspect... many a times we don't feel grateful to ourselves for who we are.. when we develop gratitude, it also helps in developing self respect.

      Gratitude towards oneself, Acceptance of who we are, inturn gives us the ability to be grateful to others, understand and accept others and develop respect to others and our environment... which help us live better... and enjoy life as never before...

      Life is much simpler and the choice of life would be that of simplicity.

      Thanks for your views!

      Subhash
      • Mar 9 2012: Thanks Subhash for your thoughts. I agree.

        "True happiness or contentment can be found by accepting reality... "
        Since happiness is subjective then reality is not what we accept, I think, but rather how do we perceive it. It is about realization of what is really important in life and as you say gratitude toward yourself. For some the glass is half empty, for others it is half full or completely full.

        cheers
    • Mar 10 2012: Zdenek,

      I really enjoyed reading your comment. Living a purposeful life is one key way to have happiness of some sort.

      It is wonderful that you have grown in the last ten years, it sounds like you are very happy.

      Thank you.
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    Mar 9 2012: You'll never reach happiness if you make it your aim. Moreover no finite thing can ever truly and fully satisfy the human heart. Given enough time, even the greatest thing we can think of will become vain.

    Indeed, happiness is found only in a relationship with God, the infinite and majestic Being who is holy, just, loving, and all-knowing. I found this true in my own life. Money did not fulfill me. Pleasure did not fulfill me. Learning and philosophy did not fulfill me. Only love in the arms of Christ brings true hope, true soul peace, true happiness and fulfillment.

    "Aim at heaven and you'll get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you'll get neither." -C.S. Lewis.
    • Mar 9 2012: If happiness is found only in a relationship with God, does it mean non-believers are not happy?

      I am very happy and I know many others that are also happy without a God in their life.

      I think happiness is about your attitude to life, your positive outlook and care of others. Nothing else is needed in my opinion.
      • Mar 9 2012: Zdenek,

        "True happiness" as in the happiness to end all happiness may be found in a personal relationship with the Creator. (and notice I said "may be".....for many talk the talk, but do not walk the walk)

        However, many individuals find "happiness" in many things, regardless of their religious beliefs.

        Parents, for example, believer or not, find happiness in their children, and in their family.....their wedding day, a nice homecooked meal shared among those who love each other.

        Happines does not only exist for believers. For a person who is a believer in God to say this, shows lack of insight, this is my humble opinion.

        One of the most impressive talks ever given and recorded, was the Sermon on the Mount. And in this talk, Jesus said God makes the sun rise on everybody.....believer or not.......why?? Because God in not partial. He loves us all. We are endowed with free will, we may CHOOSE to find the true happiness that comes from having a personal relationship with him, BUT, if we then take this relationship and feel that we are better than others, we are missing the point all together.

        We are to be footstep followers on Christ, and have the mind of Christ. In other words, love everyone, let our "joy" show in our words, and in our actions. Let our light (our inner sun) shine on all......for God gives us daily everything we need to be happy........a relationship with him is like icing on the cake......but still, cake without icing is yummy isn't it............especially with a cup of coffee or tea.

        These are my relections Zdenek. Happiness is a state of being....everyone can have it, believer or not....you are absolutely correct.

        Be Well,

        Mary
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          Mar 9 2012: Dear Mary and Zdenek, thank you for your posts!

          Mary you bring up a good point which I should have made more explicit in my original comment. When we say "happiness" that word can refer to several things. Do we simply mean a state of pleasure, or a feeling of well being? Or are we referring to a deep and penetrating joy that transcends all circumstances?Indeed, anyone and everyone can experience happiness if it's nothing more than pleasure or a pleasant feeling. But I've found that those experiences don't last. They fade. And often it takes more of that experience to reach the same level of happiness. Think of sex, or drugs, or just about anything. The first time we see or experience something it's wonderful! But eventually after more and more and more, it begins to lose its flavor. There appears to be a law of diminshing returns in almost every pursuit. It's at this point that it's important to ask, what will bring true and lasting happiness, or true fulfillment? You'll notice in my original post I added the adjective "true" to describe what I am referring to.

          After we've experienced many pleasant and wonderful things, and have been happy, why does it not last? Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes notes that every finite thing eventually becomes vain over enough time. Indeed, the only good that FULLY satisfies the human heart is an infinite good, but the only infinite good is God. In that way then, true life, joy, happiness, and fulfillment is only found in a vibrant relationship with God, which we can only reach through the forgiveness found in the cross of Jesus Christ His Son.

          That's been my personal experience, which I have also found to be quite reasonable. :)

          Warmly,
          Devin
        • Mar 9 2012: Dear Mary and Devin,

          Thank you for explaining your view. I think we are actually referring to the same thing:

          "Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion"
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happiness

          If you look at my main post in this thread you will see that I do live to experience "true" happiness overall with purpose in life and joy to live. Again, I don't see a reason why I need God for that?

          For me and other, the meaning of life is to enjoy people, help others, marvel at the Universe and be part of the great progress the humankind is making everywhere. Look at the Internet and the amazing growth of technologies, communication, knowledge and social good.

          Here is a great recent TED talk and related article:

          http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_diamandis_abundance_is_our_future.html

          http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/better-than-you-think

          I understand that for many people a connection with God makes them experience true happiness throughout the life and that is a great thing!

          cheers
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          Mar 9 2012: So many things well said Mary:>)
          I noticed that you wrote..." happiness to end all happiness may be found in a personal relationship with the Creator. (and notice I said "may be"....). I agree Mary

          And I agree with your other statements..."However, many individuals find "happiness" in many things, regardless of their religious beliefs".

          "Happines does not only exist for believers. For a person who is a believer in God to say this, shows lack of insight, this is my humble opinion".

          "We are endowed with free will, we may CHOOSE to find the true happiness that comes from having a personal relationship with him, BUT, if we then take this relationship and feel that we are better than others, we are missing the point all together".

          I agree Mary that those who believe his/her belief is the only way to happiness, is missing the point, shows lack of insight, close mindedness and closed heart, all of which limits a person regarding truely experiencing happiness.
    • Mar 10 2012: Hi Devin,

      I have very deep respect for godly principles found in scripture.

      Two that come to mind about happiness are:

      Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need.

      There is more happiness to be found in giving than in receiving.

      What I have observed Devin, is that TED is a place to exchange ideas that work. If you are able to share universal truths that are easily applicable in our everyday life, and that shed light on the human condition, and can help the community understand your point of view with quotes, stories, or logical reasoning, then the conversations go really well.

      Once you begin to share your belief system, well, let's just say that by now, you know what happens.

      You probably have had some wonderful experiences in life, and have deeply reflected on our human condition. Happiness is a subject that is very popular here, I hope your contribution helps someone.

      I look forward to reading your contributions in many conversations. Thank you for replying to my comment.

      Be Well

      Mary
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      Mar 10 2012: Devin,
      I respect and appreciate the fact that you found happiness in the way you chose to find happiness. To say, however..."You'll never reach happiness if you make it your aim. Moreover no finite thing can ever truly and fully satisfy the human heart. Given enough time, even the greatest thing we can think of will become vain".

      I do not recognize you as an authority, or expert on happiness, so to try to convey a "way" in which you propose everyone will find happiness looks silly, and doesn't make any sense to me.

      Furthermore, you write..."Indeed, happiness is found only in a relationship with God..."
      As a person born into a catholic family, with bible stuby and catholic school for 12 years, I see that you are missing some important elements of the bible...those which tell us we are all one, and those which connect humankind.

      You say..."Aim at heaven and you'll get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you'll get neither." -C.S. Lewis.

      Do you think/feel that if there is a god, he/she/it may have put us on the earth for a reason? We are HERE, NOW! To aim for another place simply takes us out of the moment of the here and now, thereby denying ourselves the opportunity to "be" fully engaged in the earth life experience. You're saying that a god created us, created this earth, put us here, and we are supposed to be aiming for heaven the whole time we are here? Seems like a silly idea to me! If there IS a god, I sincerely hope he/she/it is much smarter than that:>)
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    Mar 11 2012: Happiness can not be approached. It is within you. How you handle life's stressful events is very important. Personally, I try to make humor out of every stressful event and LOL. True happiness means how pleased you are with yourself.