Happiness #5 – Last Post on Characteristics
This will be my last post for a while on the important topic of happiness. Here I will hit a few highlights about simple joy and lasting inner experiences of true happiness.
Simple Joy – We experience simple joy in simple experiences, small sometimes subtle events in our lives. Joy sometimes comes into being via simple acts of caring, kindness, compassion, gratitude, beauty, and witnessing nature’s wonders. Another more powerful form of joy arises by being generous in many ways with others – even the most basic humane gestures. To experience joy we need to be mindful; we need to pay attention, attention, attention. This cannot happen when we are negatively aroused about something that makes us unhappy. At these troubling times our attention is negatively focused on the person, place, or thing “causing” our suffering. In reality we cause this suffering by our ego-based attitudes. The very old Taoist idea of tzu-jan; to be able to enjoy joy we must be mindfully aware in the present moment and not preoccupied with past or future. In this way we may be swept up in the natural flow of joyous experiences no matter how small. Like the Lotus Sutra notes, pursuing enlightenment and awakening with full joyous awareness allows us to both experience and spread joy. Chinese Zen Master Dongshan reminded us to practice only with joy in our hearts. Be as close as possible to the sources of passing and lasting joy. When you can, become the joy. Use all of your senses to do this.
Ultimate Happiness – Some might say there is no such thing as ultimate happiness. I disagree! You may be able to sustain ongoing joyous experience as a norm, thus being open to deeper, stronger happiness. What is you bliss? How do you feel it? When do you feel it? Do more of that.! Be that! What about the flow of happiness? Do you become aware of the flow of it? Can you enter the flow to experience “the felt sense” of it? These causes and conditions may lead us to ultimate mind-body stimulation with deep awe. What about your spiritual experience? Do you know what I mean? The outcome of full mind-body-heart-soul consequences of being happy is a deep, personal spiritual realization. Again, use all of your senses, remain present, and stop worrying about past regrets and future challenges. “Be Here Now.” Be the happiness.
For more information refer to Enkyo O’Hara, P. (November 29, 2017). Joy Arises from Simplicity in firstname.lastname@example.org and Quintiliani, A. R. (2014). Mindful Happiness… Shelburne, VT: Red Barn Books. (revised book coming soon).
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont and the Home of The Monkton Sangha
Author of Mindful Happiness