Discussion of 'Self Actualization: What Does it Take to be Happy?'.

by Phil Beaumont
('What does it take to be happy?' article)

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Apr 30, 2012
Another reflection on happiness
by: living

Hey! Thanks for the response. I enjoyed reading what was shared.

The example I used: "noticing happiness and it began to dissipate" may have been more a story about time, and its misuse. Perhaps it wasn't a noticing at all. Noticing is just noticing- without interpretation. Maybe it was more like a thought, "I'm happy right now." Time is the movement of thought, and it became a time-bound experience when thought entered into it. Which, in turn, gave it a duration, which then began to dissipate.

The whole darn thing can be so subtle at times (no pun intended), and time always wants to stay on the move.

Good pointers about losing interest in happiness, and avoiding unhappiness. "Interest" and "avoidance" would both be movements of thought.

I wonder what the cultural input would be if I announced I'm going to become a 'thoughtless person?" :)

Kinda fun to 'think about.'

Have a good one!

Apr 29, 2012
Reflecting on happiness
by: Phil

It's been said that the best way to be unhappy is to ask yourself if you're happy. The reason is that your attention turns from the direct experience you are enjoying to the thoughts about the experience. Thinking is a process of constricted focus that compromises the natural openness of a happy experience. It's a bit like thinking about a meal instead of eating it.

I wouldn't say there's a culturally defined duration for happiness but there is a personally defined one. All feelings are movements and naturally come and go, and also the feeling is defined by it's opposite. You are happy because you know very well what it is to not be so unhappy, but the longer that state lasts, the more difficult it is to discern the contrast. Essentially, you begin to lose your reference point and normalize to the situation.

Maybe we can see how this works more clearly in the scenario where you get something you wanted. You're happy and contented for a while, but the 'newness' fades rather quickly and you find yourself thinking about the next thing you want. Feelings come and go and the only way to sustain them is to keep triggering them with thoughts about how you just got what you wanted and how great it is.

I would say losing interest in being happy or avoiding unhappiness is one of the best ways to find peace, which you will not only find more satisfying than the happy/unhappy roller coaster, but you'll find that it does not come and go as happiness does, because it does not depend upon external circumstances.

Apr 27, 2012
Cultural input
by: Anonymous

There have been times when I've noticed I'm happy, and in that moment it begins to dissipate. Which gives me cause to suspect that perhaps happiness is a cultural input. It is possible the sensation -happiness- has a natural duration, and the moment thought separates itself from what is called the sensation of happiness, the demand to keep that sensation going longer than its natural duration also occurs with it.

Within the context of what you're presenting here, would it be true, for lack of a better word, to say not knowing what happiness is ensures we will never be unhappy?

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