Happiness Characteristics – Post #2
Below I will note a few key characteristics of experiences and attitudes associated with happiness. Do your best to experience some of these each day – as much as is possible. Here is the first list.
- Being Fully Alive to Experiences – Do your best to be fully involved in mind-body ways in any and all positive experiences you encounter. No matter how small or short-lasting, be the experience. This means we should savor each moment as a precious moment, a precious moment that may never come again (Omar Khayyam). Emily Dickinson suggests that is what makes human life so sweet. Arnold Toynbee noted that when possible we should make work into play. Ellen Degeneres suggests that we should pretend to be butterflies, with a lifespan of about two weeks. If you had only two week to live would you be able to find joy in the moments? Use all your senses when you encounter any form of joy.
- Bliss Consciousness is Part of it – Joseph Campbell advised us to follow our personal bliss. This type of experience may awaken us to higher consciousness. Be the bliss, and experience it in your true self. Deepak Chopra tells us that nothing is more important than connecting with your inner bliss Guru Nanak recommended that we meditate in our solitude as a means to attain pure bliss, and Swami Sivananda notes that blissful meditation brings us to intense inner joy. William Wordsworth suggested that bliss of solitude brings deep pleasure to the heart.
- Contentment is the Recognition of Pleasant Joy – To Osho, perhaps the core of contentment is experiencing the serenity of satisfaction about what is right now. Henry Ward Beecher suggested that happy contentment is an ability to find happiness in very common things and experiences. Oprah Winfrey noted that having gratitude for what you have now opens up the way to have even more. The way we live each day ends up to be the way we spend our life (Annie Dillard).
- Delight is a Part of Happiness – We feel delight when our hearts and souls are are light and gladdened. Kahlil Gibran noted that the joy of delight can be found when we look deeply into our own hearts. Take delight in the wonders of nature and life – it always changes (The Buddha and Marcus Aurelius). Go with the flow of the changing.
- Enlightenment may be End-Stage Happiness – Huston Smith informed us that intense, lasting suffering led The Buddha to enlightenment, which was an understanding of how the mind works and how to discipline it. Such awareness may lead to compassion and inner peace. Denis Waitley noted that happiness is purely spiritual and related to love, gratitude, grace and wisdom. Japanese Zen Master Dogen suggested that sincere practice leads to enlightenment. Like The Buddha, Albert Einstein advised that happiness and enlightenment require liberation from the self.
Here you have the first five characteristics of happiness as presented by Louise Baxter Harmon (2015). Happiness a-z: The Gleeful Guide to Finding and Following Your Bliss. New York: MJF Books, pp. 1-37.