Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Happiness Experience-I

What is it that you really enjoy doing? What gives you true happiness ?

For most people, it is a fun activity-like football, baseball, tennis, swimming, camping, or any other sport. For others, it is enjoying delectable delicacies at their favorite restaurant. It may be reading their favorite authors for some others. Movies, sex, sightseeing, hanging out with friends, conversing with your partner, playing with kids, indulging your hobbies, immersing in the work which you love-favorite activities for happiness are many.

Then there are the extreme, not necessarily wholesome ones like alcohol, drugs, other intoxicants, porn,...

There is also the minority which derives their happiness from perversions-and other serious disorders...

You may protest at grouping all of these together-enjoying a game of cards is not in the same league as that of pedophilia.

I agree, but all of these have a common denominator-happiness. It is what all of us seek-perverts included. Aren't there people who derive happiness by teasing and taunting? In fact, the pursuit of happiness is such a complex, deep domain that lack of clarity about it can lead to hazardous habits, often self-destructive.

Lets try to analyse how we experience happiness. As a sample, we will take food. Many people try to drown their frustrations and sorrows by binging.

Anatomy of the happiness experience
Suppose you have a friend who likes Chocolate ice-cream very much. He is always ready for a cup. But how many cups can he take? At the most 3 or 4. Beyond that, if you keep on feeding him ice-creams (free of course!), he will reach a point where he will vomit, if he eats any more of it.

Here, the same ice-cream which gave him happiness, is now giving pain. How can the same object give pleasure as well as pain? Would that be possible, if it really were the source of happiness?

Lets consider another scenario, when a person is sad because of some personal tragedy. He will be in no mood to take ice creams. If you were not in the mood, you wouldn't be able to enjoy your favorite dishes. Would we try to comfort a bereaved adult by feeding him tasty food? That would be childish. It would cause him more pain.

Objects like ice-cream are unable to give happiness, all the time. Our mental condition has to support the enjoyment.

Now a third situation: I've some friends who can't stand the smell of ice-cream. They're averse to all milk products. You may know somebody like that too. How come the same object gives happiness to some and unhappiness to others? That shows again that ice-cream is not the source of happiness.

If so, why do people enjoy ice-cream?

Ice-cream entertains you only if you have a desire for it. The desire is like a ripple in the mind. When that desire is satisfied, the ripple disappears. The person experiences stillness of mind, for perhaps a nano second. This stillness or 'captivation of the mind' is the actual source of happiness.
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