Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A wish for more happiness and joy.

Post 356 – I woke up today thinking about happiness and joy and wondering why there’s so little of either in the evening news or the morning paper. And why we've learned to accept that! It’s not that we don’t need more of each - I’m told the number one class at Harvard University is a class called “Happier.”

Dr. Robert Holden writes about three kinds of happiness in his book, Be Happy. He mentions pleasure, satisfaction and unreasonable happiness or joy. For him joy is the soul of happiness and the only true kind of happiness. He compares it to "bliss" and "ecstasy." It’s much more than an emotion or a state of mind; it’s bigger than the ego and comes before the "I." It’s what Marcie Shimoff calls "being happy for no reason" in her book of the same name.

Holden gives five reasons why developing an awareness of joy is the true path to happiness.

1. It’s constant and ever present - you don’t have to chase joy or satisfy your ego to be joyful.

2. It unleashes creativity - joy is a source of inspiration.

3. It’s unreasonable - joy is based on nothing and doesn’t need a reason to exist.

4. It doesn’t have an opposite, unlike pleasure and satisfaction - joy's twin is love and nothing can diminish it.

5. It is enough, unlike pleasure and satisfaction which constantly require more and more. Joy has an abiding sense of "enoughness."

According to Holden, unless you cultivate an awareness of joy, no amount of pleasure or satisfaction can make you happy.

Sarah Ban Breathnach reminds us that we often confuse happiness and joy. Happiness is frequently triggered by external events we usually have no control over – you got the promotion, he loves you back, they approved your mortgage application. Happiness camouflages a lot of fears.

She writes that, “Joy is the absence of fear. Joy is your soul’s knowledge that if you don’t get the promotion, keep the relationship, or buy the house, it’s because you weren’t meant to. You’re meant to have something better, something richer, something deeper. Something more. Joy is where your life began, with your first cry. Joy is your birthright. She believes that joy comes easier to those who embrace a Simple Abundance philosophy: "All you have is all you need at any moment if you're grateful for it." So, one of the keys to happiness is inner contentment. Inner contentment doesn’t come from having all you want but rather from wanting and appreciating all you have.

I probably shouldn't have goals for my readers, but I do. I wish for all of you to be joyful. Joy comes when we allow our quiet heart to lead us, when we recognize that the progress of the world depends on our progress as individuals. Joy is number one on my list of characteristics for successful people. So, if it's not on yours, please add it!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Love it! Keep em coming!