Health is wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul; their alignment with one another is the art of living well.
Wisdom is understanding of the self, others, and the nature of things; it is essential to living as if everything is a miracle.
The Happiness Wisdom
You need wisdom to be happy -- the wisdom to know what happiness really is, and how to become happy.
Happiness is a positive emotional condition. You feel good about yourself. It is about feelings of sustained joy over an event or through a period of time. It can be the quiet joy of a parent looking on his or her sleeping child; it can also be the intense joy of a sports fan over scoring a winning goal.
However, emotional condition of happiness is usually transient; it never lasts over a long period because your emotional feelings are contingent on a circumstance or an event that changes with time. That explains why happiness does not last.
Happiness is about the judgment of your own life -- the life goals you have set and accomplished; the life passions you have cherished and realized, and the life challenges you have encountered and overcome.
Happiness is all about life satisfaction: getting what you most care about in your life; that is, you see your life as having enough of the things you care about, even though you may not feel happy all the time. In general, the satisfaction of life gives you an overall feeling of happiness.
Happiness has much to do with realism, and not fantasy or wishful thinking, such as “could have” or “might have.” Buying a lottery ticket and wishing to be the lucky winner does not bring happiness because there is no realism.
Happiness is all in the mind. You have to be conscious of why you are happy or unhappy. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “The ancestor to every action in the physical world is a thought.” In other words, wisdom comes from the mind: how you think, and how you perceive and process your thought.
The different happiness mindsets
In general, there are four different happiness mindsets. Not only the characteristics of one type of mindset may overlap those of another, but also one type of mindset may become another; it is all in the consciousness of thinking.
The unhappy ones
There are those who are forever unhappy due to an unhappy childhood, an unfulfilled adult life, and many unhappy life experiences throughout the life journey. They have made indelible imprints on their minds, making them see only the problems, instead of the potentials ahead of them. They don’t want to live, but they just don’t die. Not wanting or knowing how to purposely end their lives, they just drift on, or simply live a reckless life in hope of an early demise.
They have suffered and gone through too much in their lives. They don’t know how to cope with their life problems and how to deal with their life challenges. They have despaired and become helpless and even hopeless. They are forever the unhappy ones because unhappiness has become their brain chemicals.
The neither-happy-nor-unhappy ones
There are those who have always been a spectator, instead of a participant, of life; they are forever sitting on the sidelines of life, observing others and never thinking they could be a part of it. They always believe that life is not worth taking chances because their minds have been filled with many assumptions that they are not competent enough to get involved. Inactivity and passivity play a major role in their lives. They may not like their current situations, but they don’t know how and where to start to change them. Even if they have the know-how, they don’t want to do it, or unless someone would do it for them. Life is too much for them; they just stay back and stay put, not taking any chance or exerting any effort, while they try to get by with whatever they have. They never see the need to take the initiative to create a better life for themselves.
The to-be-happy ones
There are those who are always in quest of happiness. But, unfortunately, they are like a mule in front of a carrot-and-stick: the more pain inflicted on the mule, the more desirous the mule wants to reach out for the forever unreachable carrot in front. Their desirable but unattainable happiness is forever in front of them.
They have the problematic mindset of “better” and “more” in their endless quest for careers, relationships, and material comforts that have become the objectives of their personal happiness. Their to-be-happiness just keeps them always wanting “better” and “more” in order to feel happy.
The happy ones
There are those who have the wisdom to understand that true happiness requires action and effort, that happiness is only a moment-to-moment feeling, and that happiness never lasts.
Happiness is feeling good about yourself, and it requires you to take some action in order to feel good about yourself. Remember, elated feelings, such as happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment, are not the natural and normal resting states of the human mind, therefore, you must take a deliberate action in order to achieve and activate those innate mental states. In short, happiness requires doing -- the right doing.
Our ancestors in the Stone Age did not naturally and instinctively feel comfortable, secure, and satisfied with their status quo. They certainly did not pass those genes on to us. They had to fight to survive; by the same token, we all must make a conscious effort to take some action in order to feel good, happy, and satisfied.
Remember, true human happiness is a process, a way of living, involving some action to change the consciousness of thinking. It is no more than the ability to experience joy when good things happen; the ability to feel satisfaction when goals are achieved; the ability to cope with problems, the ability to adapt to changes, and the ability to give meaning and purpose to life.
How happy are you?
Copyright© by Stephen Lau