Saturday, 24 August 2013

That elusive happiness

Very few days ago I was enjoying one of those blissful moments where everything seems to have found its exact place in the puzzle of life. Then feeling a flamboyant sensation in my self I let it seep slowly from my inner interior (if there is something like that in us), which as everybody who has met Elf knows, is a mistake.

The impossible gnome raised his ugly head behind my contentment, and with relish started to read an essay I wrote for my thesis on Happiness, so long ago I forgot I had it, and worst yet, I forgot I do believe each one of the words I wrote on the occasion.

To celebrate the coming back to life of an interested nonsense full of truth and deceit, depending the state of your mind is at the moment of reading it, I compromised with the sprite to put it again at the consideration of those idle persons with the slant and the possibility to lose time enough as to read it.

But against the advice of Elf, I want to warn you gentle Reader that you are about to sink your unaware self in a quagmire of pseudo psycho, philosophy not worthy the ink it is written, supposing it would be written in ink, so:

WARNING: if you have anything better to do in the real world, do not lose your time reading this dense post-Socratic idiocy, born only of the need to fulfill the arcane design of College as proof that the writer has lost his time learning a lot of rubbish.

You are Warned!

No complains accepted if you overtake this line.

I feel (am?) happy.
My days are full of light and laugh.
I call it happiness. Then, I try to understand happiness, and that is a mistake.

I am happy! It seems as if I am content, but I am sure it is not the same thing. I can be happy and immersed in big distress at the same time. This seems an impossible feat, but is true. What I cannot be is content while immerse in big distress, then, happiness and contentment are not the same thing!

If I look into the word meaning: Content comes from a family of words that express delimitation as in 'Contain', so when I am content I am restrained to myself which in turn makes me feel satisfied with the environment: I am into myself and that's all I need.

What about happiness? Its means, chance occurrence, comes from the old word 'hap' as a chance; as in luck, an archaic form of good fortune. This is something broader than content.

We usually get confused, and when sad we think we are unhappy. Far from it! Sadness is that feeling derived from unpleasantness and this latter is a by product of our selfishness.

Yes, I hear my own brain crying: I am not selfish, (am I ?) so your last definition is not true since I feel sad now and again and I am not selfish.

But then again, my brain is wrong.

If I were not selfish I would be dead since long ago, it is a proven fact that our conservation spirit is strong enough to keep us alive, but I am talking about a residual sense of that need, and when I analyze the reasons I feel sad I always find it is because something is out of the order I want to put the world in!

Some, few, reasons to be sad:

This business, which I am interested in, went wrong.

My health is not as I would like it to be.

My best friend betrayed me.

The government is making my life miserable.

I feel sorry about a problem my neighbor has.

You name it, we cannot get around "me" "my", or "I", it is the subject! The situation just revolves around my poor dissatisfied self. Then, how do you define this situation?

Undoubtedly: «self centered».

What makes it complicated is that this is not an abnormal behavior, the world spin around our self, we can only grasp any meaning through our body and mind, that is our self, and express our feelings through our mind and body, which is... yes you guessed it!

There is a difference between what I just wrote and happiness, the latter is totally independent from feelings, I may be sad but perfectly happy...

Come again? Spell this oxymoron!

To be happy is a way, a trail, not an end, you do not feel happy, you 'are' happy and only in this context can you recognize happiness as a method of life, even I dare say we can decide to be happy, no matter what!

When you are contented, in the etymological sense of the word, you are held as a whole, you are neither excised not divided, and you know your wholeness. You are satisfied, but are you happy?

The base of happiness, is not contentment, but of course, we can realize that if we are basically happy (a soul status), being content is easily recognized since happiness is the natural base for our feelings so we readily accept our content (a mind status, a feeling), that thing that makes us feel whole.

This psychological structure makes us aware of a real surprising fact: once you have happiness tightly sitting as the base in the core of your self, it can support several different feelings, such as: joy, elation, rejoicing, delight, sadness, depression, despondency, apathy, despair, and in the middle of all these feelings you still are happy!

Of course, it is easier to let our feelings command our life and think we "feel" happy or miserable following the whims of our hormones or our responses to reality. It is easier, but it is pointless, our stupid frenzy in the face of our feelings or facing reality moves us around as a crazy leaf in an uncontrolled gale and in the heat of our wanton desires, the yearning for things, tangibles or abstracts, disorderly craved and in haste, rules our life leaving us exhausted and disgusted; never satisfied, always confused about ourselves.

Then we *feel* unhappy, but this is a feeling, we are not unhappy, we are unsatisfied, discontent, even angry and revolted at the reality we are living with, that is true, but in that environment as unlikely as it may seem we can be happy simply because happiness finds its being in itself, forgetting "desires" and "wants".

Yes, it is difficult for us (pampered by our actual way of life, where everything points to get whatever we want "right now"), to ignore the advice of media, telling us to use "the right" to live our own life "now", wasting our efforts running behind "newly created" needs by a society that think nothing of (or worse yet, despise) duties and responsibilities.

So we put our selves first, leaving behind everybody else, even those we owe natural care: sons, daughters and relatives. All this is easily seen in the way we express when we try to say something about ourselves and some other person: "me and Pete". Just look who goes first!

This manner of being is a sure way to be unhappy even if we get everything we want since there is a small (but crucial) thing we leave out: "the moral right to be human" otherwise said: Love.

And that's that! For good or else...

The music is a Mix of "Over the Rainbow and What a Wonderful World" sung by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

© 2013 Od Liam.


  1. I think it was not a waste of my time and I am happy to have read it. I am a happy person by nature. I believe that happiness can only be achieved by projecting outward towards others and not inward towards myself. I am not of the belief that I must be happy with myself before I can make other people happy. I think it is the opposite. I believe that in order for one to be happy with themselves they must spend time giving someone else happy....long comment I hope it didn't waste your time. :)

    1. No, you will never waste my time commenting, and I will ever see long comments as the best, since they take time and I feel honoured by being allotted time by a reader!

      I guess you are right, the farthest we are from our Ego, the nearer we are to happiness.

      The experience through different cultures I achieved travelling the world let me learn that it is a blessed thing to be able to project oneself onto other people, but also that it is not a common occurrence.

      Human tendency is to close doors in the vain intent to avoid being hurt, and that is shown in the state the world is in.

      Even in that case it is possible to be happy if we can detach from us our desires, and yearnings. Buddhism is known by this tenet, but in truth it is held by all beliefs on Earth.

      I am really happy to know you are counted with those blessed people who can give themselves to other persons happiness!

      Thank you for your comment, it gives a clearer notion to my postulate.

  2. Od Liam, I dared to read below the line, and no complaints I say, all was well. Now I shall cause you to complain against me:

    Warning: It's your own fault if you read below this line...

    I understand what you are saying but I can't break my happiness free from my feelings, which are based upon the conditions I find myself (my-self) in. For me happiness and contentment are bound up together to a certain point, whatever the etymology that has led to the development of those terms.

    Though I can still find a degree of contentment when I am in distress... but only a small degree! ie: This usually happens when I think about other people who are worse off than I am at the time.

    Perhaps there is a secret you need to share with us... Now I shall have a sing-a-long with your music.

    1. I dared to sink below your line, RPD! I do not regret it!

      I can follow your statement, and I recognise it is very difficult to learn how detach feelings from our self.

      That is our worst weakness, and the world will be in jeopardy until all of us learn to do it.

      I cannot claim I already won this battle, only that I am daringly fighting to achieve this prize.

      There is no secret, only the expressed need to be delivered of our lean flanks.

      I am happy listening to your sing-a-song! :)

  3. You know, Od, I was here this morning, afternoon and now evening. Elf must had known my presence! I'm still reading despite his warning. *Smile*

    Thought provoking post, yeah, you know I left the world of thesis some years ago. For that, I put my thoughts together when reading this. I could empathise with certain situations you mentioned. I do understand you and I want to say more but I just can't. Elf knows the reasons why.

    One thing I'd like to say is life has its ups and downs.

    Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly and so could you. The colours of the rainbow so pretty in the sky, so that makes a wonderful world, too.

    I like the songs you chose though I'm touched by certain parts of the lyrics. Thank you for this post which is so well-expressed. :)

    1. Yes, he told me you were here.

      Only I did not want to disturb you, just let you say what you felt.

      Elf agree, he knows many whys, and he, as many other people had helped, and are helping me, even now, to learn that life is much more than what is seen and felt in a moment of time! That is why I used the Rainbow colours and the Wonderful World to be companion of my sense of happiness.

      Thank you for your words, in the end I must recognise Elf is always right. He knows because he is a sprite, but he knows much more because he is old. (This is a secret do not tell anybody Elf is an elder!) :)

  4. Do not worry too much ,try to steal the happiness from every moment of life. Elf is great as always :)

    1. You are right, Auntie!

      I had followed your advice, since long ago.

      I had to write this essay, though, or I would have not got my credits! :)

  5. amazing writing.
    I'm in line wth u!

  6. Thank you AuL!

    Happy to know I am not alone! :)