Are You Truly Happy?

I was inspired to write this post because some of you are simply miserable and are missing out on the best parts of life. Your focus seems to be consumed with what you want, don’t have and can’t have rather than what you DO have at this very moment of “now”. Its quite ugly and becomes VERY apparent within your mindset and ultimately your physique. The look “shitty” is NOT sexy at all…

A person with a vast heart is happy.
Such a person lives each day with a broad and embracing spirit.
A person with a strong will is happy.
Such a person can confidently enjoy life, never defeated by suffering.
A person with a profound spirit is happy.
Such a person can savor life’s depths
while creating meaning and value that will last for eternity.
A person with a pure mind is happy.
Such a person is always surrounded by refreshing breezes of joy

I know the concept of happiness is difficult to grasp. In our daily life we constantly experience happiness and unhappiness, but we are still quite ignorant as to what happiness really is.

Personally I know, practice and understand with confidence that happiness doesn’t exist in the past or in the future. It only exists within our state of life right now, here in the present, as we face the challenges of daily life.

You yourself know best whether you are feeling joy or struggling with suffering. These things are not known to other people. Even a man who has great wealth, social recognition and many awards may still be shadowed by indescribable suffering deep in his heart. On the other hand, an elderly woman who is not fortunate financially, leading a simple life alone, may feel the sun of joy and happiness rising in her heart each day.

Happiness is not a life without problems, but rather the strength to overcome the problems that come our way. There is no such thing as a problem-free life; difficulties are unavoidable. But how we experience and react to our problems depends on us. Buddhism teaches that we are each responsible for our own happiness or unhappiness. Our vitality – the amount of energy or “life-force” we have – is in fact the single most important factor in determining whether or not we are happy.

True happiness is to be found within, in the state of our hearts. It does not exist on the far side of some distant mountains. It is within you, yourself. However much you try, you can never run away from yourself. And if you are weak, suffering will follow you wherever you go. You will never find happiness if you don’t challenge your weaknesses and change yourself from within.

Happiness is to be found in the dynamism and energy of your own life as you struggle to overcome one obstacle after another. This is why I believe that a person who is active and free from fear is truly happy.

The challenges we face in life can be compared to a tall mountain, rising before a mountain climber. For someone who has not trained properly, whose muscles and reflexes are weak and slow, every inch of the climb will be filled with terror and pain. The exact same climb, however, will be a thrilling journey for someone who is prepared, whose legs and arms have been strengthened by constant training. With each step forward and up, beautiful new views will come into sight.

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8 thoughts on “Are You Truly Happy?

  1. Haha, I just realized my paragraph is all jumbled!!! I must have accidentally hit tab or enter:

    Sometimes it is struggle to separate being unhappy in a particular moment from being unhappy with life in general. When you are upset about something transpiring before you, everything else at the moment seems extremely difficult. But in life, suffering is inescapable. And I agree that how we choose to overcome is what’s makes the difference between an unhappy person, and a person who just experienced an unfortunate incident. So, the shitty face (lol) every once in a while is not such a bad thing, unless of course, the face is permanently stuck that way!

    The fact that I am alive and healthy makes me happy. The fact that I can whip up a festive meal and invite guests over to enjoy keeps me going. And the fact that I have banging shoes to wear on my feet every day to work as I change the world one young mind at a time, makes me happy! Even when those same minds disrespect me!!! I’ll admit, tt’s hard in that moment to see the light, but guarantee when I hop in my car, I’m flying:) And I don’t mean the acceleration of my car!!

    But I also realize that how we live is relative to our circumstance. In my experience, similar to your example about the elderly woman, those with the most modest resources or circumstances are usually the most joyous because they appreciate the simplicity of life and what they have. I saw so much of this unbridled happiness in Brasil this summer. I believe some of the most beautiful and truly happy people live there I can share why in another thread…

    Once you experience the true essence of happiness, you begin to realize that the ish you complain about is actually not much at all. So many of us exude a “poor me” mentality: when shit hits the fan, we immediately think of how horrible our circumstances are, and “why does this always happen to me?” We don’t think about the fact that often times we breed the negativity we experience… But because we understand the idea of relativity, we also can’t judge someone else for being unhappy, even if to us it seems like nothing at all. Just watch the company you keep. Having a “poor me” hanging around could be contagious, as well as annoying!!!

    My fault for the typos, kind of written in haste…

  2. A few questions before I share my thoughts —

    1.) How are you assessing misery within others?
    2.) Is it possible that what you perceive (if this is drawn from personal experience) as misery is really another state of being, and one you miss because of your proximity of understanding in the person’s life?
    3.) Is your assessment a generalization about society as a whole, or particular to experiences you personally have lived?

    I find Ikeda’s work and symmetry of thought to be inspiring, and will share more of my thoughts when I better understand your perspective on the above queries.

  3. @ Vic,

    Ah seeing that your comment was posted after Taj, it was hard to know who you were speaking to and I didn’t want to over step bounds…

    Now to your inquires:

    1. First, misery and unhappiness are 2 very different things. Secondly, my assessment is based on the output and behavior of a subject.

    2. It “could” be due to my lack of depth within understanding ones life however you know I dig much deeper, observe and listen more than the average bear. So to answer your question, my deductions are based on a deeper than superficial engagement of said persons.

    3. My assessment could be applied to society in general b/c again the outcomes and behaviors of people, their perceptions and treatment/judgements of others are clear indications of some form of personal unhappiness. But because I shoot with an arrow and not a shotgun, this particular entry was based on my direct engagement with a few people.

    I too enjoy and apply many of Daisaku Ikeda ideologies to everyday life. Part of my past readings have powered my thoughts that lead to this post…

  4. You know me well enough, D, that if I am addressing someone other than you within your blog, I will name them, but thanks for clarifying…lol! With that said, I concur that misery and unhappiness are different, both a state of mind.

    Some confusion still remains as you begin your blog referencing those who are miserable, a state of misery, and then continue on to espouse on the states and condition of happiness. Misery is a prolonged state of unhappiness, brought about by many internal and external factors, but still a state of mind we can navigate. So, again I inquire, are you using the terms misery and unhappiness loosely in the first sentence, or implying you have deduced the state of misery within your engagement with these few people?

    I hear you, and acknowledge your usual probing to understand. You, D, are an enigma, and the general population very predictable. I would offer, however, there are times when each of us pass steps 1 – 4 to get to 5, thus using conjecture in forming an assessment. Further, I believe the lack of knowing and understanding of an individual’s mind / processes for reflecting, balancing, working through experiences and ascertaining appropriate placement in their repertoire of challenges, successes, misunderstood and growth events don’t necessarily justify a judgment of misery or unhappiness. For example, people have, over time, assumed me angry, intimidating, and many other surmised states of being simply because they don’t understand me. I move within myself to reflect and work through challenges (be it a positive one or not so much) and do so with such fervency. It doesn’t mean I’m miserable or unhappy, rather focused and in control. I use the strength within me to balance and navigate in the ‘now’ of quiet and peace. I assume, initially, that people react with honesty and integrity, as do I, but am forced sometimes to push hard so that I don’t go too far down a path and subject myself to the disappointments of others and that which I cannot control. I control me, so some do not get the all of me if they don’t understand me, or misuse that which I give. I say all of this to share that it isn’t always what it seems, and people are capable of inward thought to work through life’s experiences, without being miserable or unhappy. I love life, am open to the possibilities of all it brings / offers, and use my own power of mind / now to navigate and learn, and to grow from decisions made and situations lived.

    With all of the above said, D, I agree there are many who choose to see the glass half empty rather than seeking the excitement and possibilities in life. I’m not sure I agree interactions with others is an immediate measure of unhappiness in self. I react to people in varying ways — some to teach, some to move forward, some, yes, wrongly in judging, but it doesn’t equate to a personal deep seeded state of mind / being. A separation can exist between processing to garner balance / position, and the state of being (as tied to misery / happiness).

    Two Ikeda quotes I find energizing and of value are:

    If you want to understand the causes made in the past, look at the results as they are manifest in the present. And if you want to know what results will be manifest in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present. The reality of your future self is forged by current action, in your behavior now.

    As long as we are human, we are bound to make mistakes. We all fall prey to flawed beliefs and views. What distinguishes a forward-looking person from an intransigent one, a virtuous person from a dishonest one, however, is whether one can candidly admit to one’s mistakes and take bold steps to redress them.

  5. @ Vic,

    Points taken. I just wish and hope that people wake up and pay close attention to what they are doing. Negative behavior, mis-internalization and constant review of what’s not have will continually result in unhappy person.

  6. You couldn’t be more right…For those close, business or personal, who influence, guide, teach and love can, to a point, suggest reflection and reclassification but, ultimately, the onus lies with the individual to seek alternative paths / perspective.

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data, ability to repeat discredited memes, and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Also, be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous :)

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