Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What is Happiness?

What is happiness? The Dalai Lama says: "The meaning of life is happiness." And many would respond, "YES! But how to find the illusive happiness map?" We used to have mood rings that clued us in by changing color. It's remarkable that no one has come up with a comparable tool that could tell us whether one has reached a state of happiness.

Could it be that happiness does not actually exist as a complete state? It's intangible and comes closest in its nature to pulsing butterfly wings amongst flower petals or the whirring of a hummingbird's wings as it delves for nectar.

Happiness comes in particles-in-motion known as moments.

Each moment is a bead with its own shape, color, and texture. No bead is like any other. Only when there are enough to string together into a rosary, do your nerve endings register happiness.

As I was walking into the sunrise this morning, the birds riotously gossiping, I felt one of those perfect heart-stopping moments when sky and birdsong fused, the world was perfect and within reach and anything was possible.

So, dear readers, please tell Glenda, what makes you happy?

36 Comments:

At 7:02 AM, Blogger betmo said...

is it really happiness or a feeling that you have arrived at a state of contentment? i have been asking myself that for a long time. i think that is easy to tell when you are un-happy-but more elusive is figuring out what happy is. i agree with you on the string of pearls theory- i think that there are certain moments in life where you are truly happy- and other moments of contentment. happy for me is having a relationship with my terminally ill mom as a person and not just my mom- and developing a relationship of equals with my sister- who never felt that she measured up.

 
At 7:07 AM, Blogger glenda said...

I am often content, it's a soft fuzzy, purry feeling, but happiness, dare I say joy, feels very different to me. It's like the difference between a pleasant diet drink and Jolt.
betmo- I lost my mother about a year ago...do take care. I'm glad you are enjoying her as a person. Take lots of pictures and home movies if you can.

 
At 7:45 AM, Blogger Time said...

Beautiful sun shots.

For me, Happiness is not a constant state. It is moments in in life when all good things seem to come together at the same time, or one thing of great importance happens.

Contempment is a constant now, that took many years of work to create a comfortable daily life.

I dream of happiness as my younger care free life, without many responsibilities. To enjoy the sunrise, not just get up, shower and go to work. To take a hike with my camera, all day; not just 8-9 weekends a year. To have as my priorities, my likes and hobbies; not working to make sure I meet my responsibilities as as the supporter for my family.

I take pride in what I have accomplished. I take satisfaction in being able to make it possible to help fulfill the dreams my children have for themselves. My happiness these days is to sit back and think of those kind of things I helped make possible through my hard work; when there were many unhappy times.

I get that feeling when after you work your butt off, you sit back, realise what you have accomplished, and just smile to yourself. Feeling prety good about it.

 
At 10:09 AM, Blogger Peacechick Mary said...

I am another skywatcher. I read an article recently that said, the crazed pursuit of happiness causes so much unhappiness and that we should not try to achieve happiness or seek it. I think that's true - happiness likes to be a surprise package - a flower, a glimpse of beauty in the human spirit, a peace with joy swirled in for flavor. As for contentment, remember the comedy movie Parenthood and the granny says, "I like roller coasters better than the round and round of the Merry-go-round"? I'm with her, life is a wild ride, some ups and some downs, and I wouldn't miss a minute of it.

 
At 10:15 AM, Anonymous earl bockenfeld said...

I think that happy is linked to the both easiest and hardest question there is. Who am I, and why am I here.

What I think, first doesn't apply to many people, the soldiers in Iraq, the sick and terminally ill, or the lonely and homeless among us.

But the important you, is the authenic you, the self in "to thy self, always be true." When you are totally engaged in framing your real reaction to the people, situations and possibilities of your life, the quest for meaning and "am I happy" take a back seat to the jest for living.

What's not real, all the strategies that we hear about, "dress for success", "go along to get along" and "don't make waves." Trying to live under those crazy dodges will make you lose your self, and make your soul sick, and cause you to miss all those beautiful sun shots.

 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger glenda said...

Yes, time, I do think we can be the architects of contentment. Looking back at how far the road has taken one can be gratifying or sad, I think, depending on how one lives their life. Sounds like you've done a fair job at it.

peacechickmary, your pic always cracks me up! Those smll AHA! moments are wonderful. And there's no telling what's around the corner. Trying to stay centered in the present is a great talent.

 
At 10:18 AM, Blogger pinkfem said...

Earl, you start a church and I'll join and we can meditate on this together.
You are a teacher, for sure.

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger celticfire said...

My only problem with this, is the quote from the Dalai Lama. WTF does he know about happiness? A man who kept personal slaves and exploited women in Tibet, and then told people that when they got sick it was because of their "sins."? Fuckthat!

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger celticfire said...

Oh, and my family makes me happy :)

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger celticfire said...

...and Glenda!: )

 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger Tinky/Caddy said...

I can wholeheartedly agree with the last two ("celticfire") comments! =)

 
At 12:37 PM, Blogger glenda said...

Hey, celtic and tinky!
Well, celtic, here is where I confess my ignorance of those facts about the Dalai Lama. Really??
How did that escape my radar? I will have to research this in detail.

tinky, you back from your travels? Call me!

 
At 1:34 PM, Blogger thepoetryman said...

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseperable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

I thought you might like his take on joy (happiness)... :>)

 
At 1:34 PM, Blogger Guerrillas in the Midst said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:35 PM, Blogger Guerrillas in the Midst said...

What makes me happy? Knowing that I have the strength not to have responded with "Prozac".

 
At 2:05 PM, Blogger Paul M. Sark said...

Glenda,

Thanks for your comment on my blog.

How interesting that your life is similar to Laura Bush's!

What is happiness to Me & George W.?

Happiness is The Grand March to Freedom!

 
At 3:12 PM, Blogger glenda said...

Guerillas, what does that mean?

Paul, Let me know howthat march goes!
Can anyone take the Grand March to Freedom?

 
At 4:47 PM, Blogger Callooh said...

quiet, birds around the trees and in my feeders, and being able to appreciate a momment

doing a kindness for another, and not telling about it

my children, usually when they're asleep

beauty in another person

kindness, especially in harsh conditions

hope

sunlight on my face

nature, this earth, when I remember my place in and on this glorious planet - especially today Litha, or the Summer Solstice.

a chipmunk eating peanuts I put out for him

a squirrel in my window birdfeeder staring at me as he devours my birdseed yet again, and then takes the corn I put out for him

writing poetry, and painting (but only sometimes!)

reading, and my books, I love my books they're in a bookself beside my grandfather old chair where I can sit and look out the window at the birds and trees.

and being reminded about what makes me happy - thanks Glenda!

 
At 5:46 PM, Blogger WeezieLou said...

i feel happy and at peace when i know my loved ones are safe.

i feel happy and content when i have a cat in my lap, any cat, any time.

i feel happy when i am free of obsessive navel gazing.

i feel happy when i feel god/higher power deep in my heart.

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger celticfire said...

Glenda:

Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth
by Michael Parenti

Rethinking Tibet
(What the "Free Tibet" activists don't tell you) by Nick Yee

The Snow Lion and the Dragon
China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama
by Melvyn C. Goldstein

Assorted links with the CIA connection.

 
At 8:37 PM, Blogger Crazy Me said...

My happiest times are when I'm not working at this point! Ergh ....

 
At 12:48 AM, Blogger sumo said...

Creme Brulee...

 
At 6:05 AM, Blogger glenda said...

ah, creme brulee...mmmm! Although I do not indulge in many sweets, that would be at the top of my list.

crazyme...I'm sure a lot of us would love to be free to blog all day...where is that winning lottery ticket I keep forgetting to buy?

Thanks celticfire....will follow those links soon as I finish my work!

weezie, feel the same abt family...amd my crazy dogs.

callooh, will be talking soon.

Enriching each others' lives, one day at a time!!

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger Mary said...

Lots of little things make me happy usually. Things I notice when I pay attention. But right now 3 young boys having a wonderful time on the beach is bringing me great happiness.

 
At 10:43 AM, Blogger podvizhnik said...

I agree that happiness and contentment are not the same thing at all. I am a happy man now and have been so for over twenty years; although twenty years ago I would not have said that I was happy, I have come to realize that I really was at that time. In fact, some of the most emotionally miserable times of my life fell into the time I include in my happiness.

What has "made me happy?" I think
nothing can make you happy, and no one except you yourself. The reason I count myself happy is that I have been able to do whatever I wanted. Nothing has ever stood in my way except my own self-created limitations. It is true that many things have happened to me that I would rather not have--including times when I was literally starving on the street, hallucinating about food--but all those things, I know, were the consequences of my own actions, which I chose and brought on myself. After all, we live in a big world, and no one can escape consequences for what they do. That is natural. When I realized that, and accepted it, and took responsibility for my own decisions (past and present), then I understood that I was happy. It is not for nothing that our English word "happy" comes from a root that means seizing or snatching. I seize everything that comes my way, and nothing is without its benefit for those who know how to find it.

 
At 6:12 AM, Blogger No said...

Driving through the Texas hill country!!! What beauty..just got back from two weeks in Texas...I wanna go back....you lucky thing you....

 
At 6:26 AM, Blogger glenda said...

Yes, isn't it pretty? Next, let me know and I'll take you to some hidden waterfalls.

 
At 8:03 AM, Blogger No said...

woooh..sounds like a plan...

 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger charlie said...

Can happiness be any greater than when you are with the person you truly love? Just being with them!

 
At 1:00 PM, Blogger glenda said...

Exactly, charlie!

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

Happiness for Jeremy:
Seas are less than 2 feet…wind barely whispering above 5 knots. Shark fishing gear is in the water, with about 5 good friends on board. The cooler is stacked with Corona. The marine grill is sizzling away with some kabobs. The sun is out but its not above 80 degrees. 40 miles offshore…the VHF kicks in with someone on channel 72 shouting, “did you guys just hear almost everyone in the White House just got arrested?”

Excuse me. I think I just had an orgasm.

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger PTCruiser said...

Watching my daughters dance their hearts out.

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger glenda said...

jeremy, I'm on my way to visit this paradise. Get the grill hot!

ptcruiser- ah, I still like to watch my daughters dance too, although they are mostly grown. Last time we were in Cozumel together, they grabbed me and all 3 of us danced together on the cheesy dance floor.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger Tabor said...

I am approaching a time when I feel happy more often, but frequently my happiness is only recognizable in my rearview mirror. I think I have to slow down a little more.

 
At 7:19 PM, Blogger glenda said...

I know what you mean Tabor, and it seems to me that the rear view mirror is a bit closer to my face these days.

 
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