In search of happiness II

Want to add a little to the previous post on happiness – and look at another way of getting to that elusive goal of being happy or flourishing as a human (Thanks, Shan for the comment that sparked this). Will start where the last post left off – with the Pythons and them talking about always looking on the bright side of life. The idea of human flourishing and fulfilment might be good starting point but for others, happiness might just be the act of getting out of the doldrums and reducing the amount of negatives that they have in their lives.

Problem lies in the individual – if a person focuses on negatives and worries, he or she might be flourishing and not even realise it. What is one to do then? Will go out on a limb and suggest that sometimes, the negatives and worries aren’t what they seem and that quite often, we focus on things that are either out of our control or are negative because of the way we see things at the moment. We’re sometimes stuck in a particular way of thinking and tend to see the half empties more than the water in the glass and that in itself can reduce our happiness quotient considerably.

The idea of attachments to things around us was mentioned in something I read last evening and  that in itself might help on this front. It was about attachments and programming – we’re often programmed to be attached to things that we have and see around us and if that’s not with us or if we’re somehow not getting those things, we might feel sad or somewhat unfulfilled (hence unhappy). Could be anything – money, the way people treat us, what we’re doing on a day-to-day basis – we are constantly told what to do and how to lead our lives. Problem is that what we’re told to do is often not consonant with what we ourselves want to do. Trick there is to find out what makes us tick and how to get there.

Was stressing the idea of self-awareness to the students that I teach over here because that lies at the core of how we learn and how we can do better at what we do. After repeating that line so many times, I’m even more convinced that if we’re aware of what we want and how we want to get it, we can get closer to the idea of being happy (or at least happier). Being aware of what we can and cannot change would enable us to reduce on the worries and get back on track with what we should be doing. This might work no?

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5 Responses to “In search of happiness II”


  1. 1 HL 12 June 2008 at 10:44 10

    I was thinking of this ideas of being “happy” for the last 2 days, cos Steven keeps asking my if I am happy in my new job. I can’t say I am “totally” happy cos I miss my friends and the comfortable existence that I had previously. I think this is what you mean by ‘attachment’. I think I am ‘content’ with what I have. I know what I would like to work towards in this new place, and in some sense, it has helped me to come to terms with what I am missing out now. And if I focused on the new experiences (good or bad) that I am going to get here…it will make me more forward looking and see the positives around us.

  2. 2 gymstan 17 June 2008 at 10:37 10

    Yup, I’d agree with that. We sometimes also get attached to certain ideals – like I was to the idea of getting a PhD by the time I turn 30 and all that sort of thing. I’m 30, not any closer to that PhD and am much happier for that. My parents always remind me – remember the good, try to forget the bad and one will always be that much happier.

  3. 3 wa'hpn 27 June 2008 at 3:57 03

    Haha Stan, I also always thought I’d get that PhD by 30. But I look at all the uppity snobby typess who flaunt theirs, and I think – I’m nothing like these people!!!

    Attachment is a very Buddhist concept. Kind of linked with the idea that to yearn is to suffer, therefore the human condition is one of endless suffering unless we break free of attachment (I just had this whole conversation with Sloth two weeks ago).

    Building on this, is (this is my own invention haha) the idea of ‘fixation’. People get fixated on their careers, relationships, material stuff, social status – it’s damn stressful to constantly think of ‘where I should be by now’.

    If we can live with as little as possible, want as little as possible, and at the same time love as many people as possible (love =/= need) – I think we can mitigate the ‘suffering’ condition.

    I don’t think being happy is a case of ‘forgetting the bad’ – no offense to uncle and auntie’s teaching, but we shouldn’t forget what went wrong insofar as we need to constructively learn from it before we move on.

    The way I see it, UNhappiness is a waste of time (and 2 weeks ago, i actually managed to ‘facilitate’ Sloth into making this same conclusion, haha – just dunno if he remembers it!). We’re inconsequential arrangements of molecules that exist in the present – this permutation of molecules that is us, is lucky enough to be given this chance to visit this teeeeeny teeeeny portion of time and space, within the unfathomable vastness that is all-time and all-space. So why the hell waste it being unhappy?

  4. 4 gymstan 27 June 2008 at 5:25 05

    Fixations, attachments etc – before we get into a premanesque semantic argument, I must say that I’m in agreement with that idea – that people are often too fixated (or attached) to an ideal that they didn’t come up with themselves. That’s the problem. I think if we get attached to something that truly came from within us, it’d be true to ourselves and we wouldn’t fear getting or not getting it.

    I think we’re a little more than inconsequential arrangements of molecules – the fact that we are arranged as such and have evolved to this state is not a complete accident. What we should be doing is to make the most of the time we have here and being unhappy, as you said, is pretty much a waste of time.

  5. 5 shoogo 6 July 2008 at 8:42 08

    I should think that dear old auntie and uncle meant that forgetting unhappy events does not preclude just the act of deleting them from the mind. It should be more the act of ceasing to dwell on them and moving on. You don’t want the past to haunt you but to allow HOPE define your present happiness and hopefully that of the future as well


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about the brushhead

had a head like a brush (it's more like an egg now). seeks to sweep through thought and faith with that brush. tries to wax philosophical but often forgets to wax off. trying to be good brush to all, while discerning what kind of brush he's meant to be.

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