Again a older post with a timeless message.. Did you know happiness is a choice? No? read on……
This is such a wonderful time of the year when we purposefully set out to create happiness for our selves and others through practicing holiday traditions and gift giving. Then with the approaching New Year we wish others Happiness on New Years Day and throughout the upcoming year. This got me to thinking about happiness and that happiness must be a much desired and highly regarded aspect of our life… right! Yes, it truly is and happiness is a good thing however after the holidays fade it can be like an elusive butterfly hard to get and to keep. Happiness can flutter into our life in many ways but how do we capture that feeling and maintain long-lasting soul satisfying happiness?
So, how do you define happiness? Well, first lets look at thoughts on this subject by the Ancient Greek Philosopher Aristotle. To paraphrase, he concluded that happiness is an end to its self, that ultimately everything we do is to be happy. Theologians have concluded that God’s grand design is for us to find happiness in this life and the next, that life is not just about pain and suffering like some my think but also about joy, peace and happiness. To seek happiness and wish happiness to others is a fundamental human desire, it is essential to the human experience and it is good to seek it, have it, try to maintain the sense of it and to wish this for others.
Although I enjoy posting information and writing articles I have not blogged much lately because I have been pretty busy and have to feel inspired to write. This morning I think I felt inspired because it is Christmas Day and I have gotten the gift of a quite Christmas morning with time to think and ponder on the subject of happiness and felt a desire to write this morning about that. My “gift” today to others is to briefly outline the 4 levels of seeking and maintaining long-lasting happiness so you have a guideline for happiness after this holiday seasons is over.
These levels can be also considered as a hierarchy of levels. The first 2 are considered the “how to obtain superficial temporary happiness” and the last 2 are on “how to obtain happiness that is of higher value and will lead to long-lasting soul satisfying happiness”. Before I list them I will need to let you know that perspective is the key here.
Level 1: Things that will bring you physical pleasure and material happiness. This would be things that you can see, feel, touch, and smell and material things that can give you pleasure. It is good to want physical pleasure and material possessions but if that is what defines you it becomes counter productive. Left unchecked can led to boredom and/or wanting more and more never feeling totally satisfied or happy.
Lever 2: This is Ego gratification which is having an identity and feeling good about yourself. We trying to understand who we are and what are natural gifts or talents maybe. Additionally, some of the things that make us feel good is power or control, attention ,admiration and success. Again, these are good things but if this is your ultimate goal in life to seek happiness through just feeling good about your self or trying to be or thinking you are better than others then you will only be left with frustration and lose the happiness you have obtained because no one can sustain consistent perfection and life long continuation in these areas eventually someone more powerful, admired or successful will come along…and they do. And then what? Well, maybe proceeding to a level 2 & 3 perspective……
Lever 3: At this level it is about becoming other centered and giving yourself to another. This is can be done by spending time with someone else, being patient, helping them with something they may need help with, being a good listener and compassionate, be charitable and generous, helping the sick and poor. Doing these things because you think you have to or to make yourself look good actually is an extension of ego gratification for self. Doing these things because you desire to help someone else for their benefit will lead to a deep sense of satisfaction and joy which equals happiness.
Level 4: Surrendering to the belief in God or as some may want to say their “higher power” and God’s unconditional love and omnipotence (the ability to do anything that which is logically possible and seemingly impossible). Surrendering to the experience of God’s unconditional love and applying that in our lives is the highest level of the sense of happiness we can experience. It is also a huge relief to understand and know that we do not have to be prefect in life or to be God for ourselves and with others. Knowing that were we end God begins puts a new prospective on living life, loving and helping others; it reduces our frustrations as we know we are not meant to be all things to others and that we are not or do not have to be prefect. Further, if we try to rise to a higher calling than living life for self only and material possessions, then not only will God do what we can not but we will experience less frustration and emptiness more love and …peace, joy and happiness. Which is something we all can experience, extend to others and also point them in the direction of this type of lasting satisfaction and happiness as well.
I want to conclude with saying that in our human experiences in life and in our personal/spiritual growth process we are meant to experience all 4 levels of happiness and that they can and will fluctuate throughout our life. It is not about getting stuck in anyone level but to have a balanced approach to experiencing and enjoy all aspects of happiness.
Yes, happiness is a choice so will you choose today to experience all levels of happiness? Well, my quite time is over and I better get started with getting ready to celebrate Christmas with my family today!
I wish all readers a very Merry Christmas and Happiness in the New Year!
This is the first day of the rest of your life and you can start right now to choose a better self and a great life!